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Careers programme for junior researchers to continue with clearer career pathways

The Junior Researcher Development Programme (JRDP), AU’s career programme for junior researchers, is being extended. Entrepreneurship is one of the permanent tracks on the course.

Over the last year, the JRDP has been supporting competency development in respect of attractive career pathways for junior researchers, and in the autumn of 2018 the Committee for Education and External Relations (UFFE) decided to let the programme continue in 2019-2020.

4 career pathways

The JRDP is now focusing more closely on junior researchers in fixed-term positions, and on career paths for anyone who does not pursue a research career at a university. This is also reflected in the recently reworked JRDP website.

Besides a career track focusing on an academic career, junior researchers are also offered ‘Research in industry and the public sector’, ‘Careers using generic academic skills’ and ‘Entrepreneurship’ tracks.

The Danish Council for Research and Innovation Policy (DFiR) concludes in a new report (article in Danish) that the vast majority of junior researchers will make their careers outside the university. Therefore, business and industry and universities share an obligation to prepare junior researchers for a career in the private sector.

Broader career profiles needed

Besides offering courses that support individual researchers’ career development, the JRDP is therefore also focusing on clarifying the career opportunities available beyond academia for candidates with a research background.

Rector Brian Bech Nielsen emphasises the importance of supporting this change in the researcher competency profile. “It is crucial for us to take care of our talented researchers and to do our very best to make sure they realise that careers in research can be pursued beyond the narrow reach of academia. We want to give them the opportunity to apply for a broad range of positions and to add value to companies and public institutions with their knowledge. This also applies when it comes to giving them both the courage and the necessary skills to start spinouts and to increase the number of highly innovative enterprises in Denmark,” he says.

Entrepreneurship as part of the researcher profile

The programme also has an entrepreneurship track that provides researchers with the tools to apply their research from a commercial perspective.

At AU, the Science for Society (SfS) initiative has been offering courses and training in ‘Academic Entrepreneurship’ to PhD students, postdoctoral students and junior researchers over the last three years. The methods, tools and expertise employed by SfS are now being included in the JRDP as elements in one of the career tracks.

SfS is made possible by external funding from the EU’s Interreg pool, and their ambitions go beyond the JRDP.


The Junior Researcher Development Programme: A general competency development platform for junior researchers at AU. This programme offers courses tailored to the needs of junior researchers, and also provides an overview of the various services and activities at AU that are of relevance to junior researchers.

Science for Society: An Interreg project in cooperation with Aalborg University, the University of Lund, the University of Oslo, Oslo Tech and the incubators Lund Holding AB, Minc and Lund Business Incubator Ideon. The project recently received additional funding that will be used in addition to regular activities to extend the portfolio with custom entrepreneurship training for researchers at the four AU faculties.