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Director of AIAS Morten Kyndrup resigns

After eight years, Professor Morten Kyndrup will be resigning as the executive director and chair of the Board of Directors for the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS). Morten Kyndrup, who helped establish and start the institute, wants to focus on his own research at the School of Communication and Culture.

Freedom, excellent quality and research for research’s sake. These were the watchwords when Professor Morten Kyndrup was charged to spearhead the independent Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), which opened in the spring of 2013. 

Morten Kyndrup was involved in developing and setting up the institute, and as its director he has been a key figure in realising the AIAS mission to build up a research community which gathers top Danish and international researchers from all fields under one roof; a community enabling everyone to immerse themselves in their own field and to have this research rub off on the rest of Aarhus University. AIAS offers researchers from all over the world an opportunity to stay at the institute for between one and three years and to work intensively on independent, innovative and extremely ambitious research projects. 

When AIAS opened, it was the first institute of its kind in Denmark, and the philosophy behind the institute turned out to be very attractive for researchers and for grants. AIAS has received regular support from the Aarhus University Research Foundation, and it has succeeded in attracting large EU grants. In 2013, the institute received DKK 46 mill. from the EU Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Foundation. The same foundation granted an additional DKK 36 mill. in 2017, spread over five years. Overall, the institute has attracted external funding for more than one-third of its total expenditure up to 2023.

"AIAS was founded with the vision that non-targeted research should be paramount, and that there should be unlimited opportunities to develop new research projects, including across established disciplines. I'm extremely pleased that we’ve succeeded in realising those goals. I have decided to step down from the position as director this year because it’s the right point in time, both for the institute and for me personally. Now it’s time to develop an AIAS 2.0 It’s been a great honour for me to contribute to creating AIAS, and I’m delighted that AIAS has succeeded in attracting both grants and talents from many disciplines over the years – and not least major international recognition for Aarhus University," says Professor Morten Kyndrup.

His last day as a director at AIAS will be on 1 October 2019.

A big job awaits
An independent international evaluation of AIAS was carried out in 2018. The evaluation was initiated by Aarhus University and it found that, in just a few years, AIAS had managed to attract highly qualified researchers, and that there were clear indications that AIAS had succeeded in nurturing ground-breaking ideas and discoveries. 

"Morten has done excellent work in establishing and developing AIAS into what it has become today. The institute has taken a very high position internationally, and in the recently completed evaluation, the panel emphasised that, within a relatively short period of time, AIAS has produced important results and attracted significant attention on the international stage. This is a great result that we can be proud of at AU, and I’d like to thank you for all that you have done," says Rector Brian Bech Nielsen. 

The early announcement of Morten Kyndrup’s resignation gives Rector Brian Bech Nielsen and the Board of Directors at AIAS plenty of time to find just the right candidate to take over. It will be an exciting process and a challenging task, explains the vice-chair of the Board of Directors, Professor Jørgen Frøkjær:

“First, I’d like to thank Morten for his large, persistent and dedicated pioneering contribution. "Working with Morten over the years has been a great pleasure. He’s succeeded in finding the right spirit and the drive that was necessary to develop AIAS into something unique at Aarhus University. It will be hard to fill his shoes, but with Morten's well-planned departure, we now have plenty of time to make sure that the right candidate takes over in the autumn," says Jørgen Frøkjær.