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Jørgen Frøkiær to become the new head of the Department of Clinical Medicine

In July, Professor Jørgen Frøkiær will take up the position of department head at the Department of Clinical Medicine. He brings with him a cultural understanding based on long-standing knowledge of the research and teaching that takes place at both the department and Aarhus University Hospital.

The 62-year-old Jørgen Frøkiær, professor, department chair, consultant and DMSc at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital, will replace Kristjar Skajaa as department head at the Department of Clinical Medicine on 1 July.

The department is thus getting an “insider” with plenty of managerial experience and advance knowledge of the departmental culture. Both in the large homeless department and at its collaborative partner Aarhus University Hospital.

Jørgen Frøkiær is currently professor and chair and thus the person responsible for research and course coordination for the medical speciality of clinical physiology and nuclear medicine, which focuses on research and development in diagnostic methods and in particular the use of molecular imaging. Jørgen Frøkiær’s own field of research is kidney diseases and the development of new diagnostic methods. Concurrently, he is acting head consultant at the Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET Centre at Aarhus University Hospital, where he became professor in 2004.

"Jørgen is a highly competent professor and research director with an internationally-oriented focus and a range of personal experiences that give him the best possible starting point for becoming an accomplished strategic head of the Department of Clinical Medicine. I’m very happy to welcome him," says Dean Lars Bo Nielsen.

International – and not afraid commercialisation

He points to Jørgen Frøkiær’s three research stays in the United States and that over the years he has been involved in several large European research consortia which have been supported by the European Commission, among others. Furthermore, Jørgen Frøkiær has been chair of the Independent Research Fund Denmark’s medical sciences subject area, meaning he has experience of sitting at the other end of the table when it comes to awarding foundation grants.

"Add to this Jørgen Frøkiær’s experience of starting his own biotech company at a time when it was far from common for researchers to go in a commercial direction. That’s also relevant experience to have as a department head at a time when everyone is more business orientated," says Lars Bo Nielsen, with reference to the biotech company Action Pharma which was started by Jørgen Frøkiær and others back in 2000 and since successfully acquired by a big pharma company.

The company developed medicinal products to protect against the tissue damage that occurs when the blood supply to an organ is interrupted. It represents an important example of how a research idea from the laboratory can be developed into a treatment of patients with serious diseases.

The unique collaboration between hospital and university

The hospital management at Aarhus University Hospital are also pleased with the choice of Jørgen Frøkiær, who will be responsible for the Master’s part of the medical degree programme in his new job. At the same time, he will be an important partner regarding the clinical research that is carried out in the hospitals in the region:

"With Jørgen Frøkiær as head of the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital is getting a collaborative partner who can take over and continue the unique collaboration between hospital and university. Jørgen is a talented, experienced and agreeable person with an impressive CV and network," says medical director at Aarhus University Hospital, Claus Thomsen.

"Jørgen has extensive experience as a manager from both the hospital and the university, which is a great advantage in our joint task of strengthening and developing Aarhus University Hospital as the university hospital in the Central Denmark Region. On behalf of both myself and the hospital management, I’m looking forward to welcoming Jørgen to this new role.”

Let success spread

As for Jørgen Frøkiær, he is pleased to be able to work on an executive level with personnel management, education and the research that has – together with the patients – been the focal point of his own working life.

"I hope that I won’t have to completely let go of my own research, but how much or how little space it’s going to take up depends on what is practically compatible with the job. And I don't exactly know yet,” says Jørgen Frøkiær, who, has a style of management that is sympathetic towards the idea of ‘letting success spread’. Something employees will notice with the department’s growing focus on internationalisation:

"Some of the department's areas are immensely strong and operate really well in terms of internationalisation and I hope I can find ways to allow these areas to inspire the other areas that need to be strengthened and need to attract foreign capacity," says Jørgen Frøkiær, having himself experienced how his department raised its level with no less than four international top researchers.

No revolution

"That said, I’m not coming to start a big revolution. I’m going to continue a solid and good development of the Department of Clinical Medicine, which over the years has given so much to me, so now where I have the desire and energy I can give something back. That's why I applied for the job,” says Jørgen Frøkiær, who will take over on 1 July after Kristjar Skajaa handed in his notice in November last year. You can also read the article Kristjar Skajaa to step down as department head next summer.

Jørgen Frøkiær is married to Pro-rector and Professor Berit Eika and lives in Åbyhøj in Aarhus. The couple have three grown children.

A video interview with Jørgen Frøkiær will be published in INSide Health before the summer holidays.

More about Jørgen Frøkiær

  • Born in 1956.
  • Graduated from Aarhus University as a medical doctor in 1986. Began a research career while still a medical student.
  • Carries out research into kidney diseases and defended his higher doctoral dissertation on the subject in 1998. Has published more than 300 research articles in his field.
  • Appointed consultant in clinical physiology and nuclear medicine at Aarhus University Hospital in 1999 before becoming professor there in 2004.
  • Appointed professor and chair at Aarhus University in 2012, meaning he is responsible for research and teaching of the medical speciality clinical physiology and nuclear medicine.
  • Has been chair of the Independent Research Fund Denmark and a member of the Lundbeck Foundation's scientific committee. Currently a member of Novo Nordisk Foundation's awards committee.
  • Has received various awards over the years including the Familien Hede Nielsen's Research Prize and the Odd Fellow Order Denmark’s Research prize. In February 2018, he also received the prize of honour from the Danish Physicians' Insurance Society for his extensive efforts within clinical and experimental organ function examinations with focus on the kidneys.


Professor, Department Chair, Consultant, DMSc Jørgen Frøkiær
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine – Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine and
Aarhus University Hospital, Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET Centre
Email: jf@clin.au.dk
Telephone: (+45) 7845 6200
Mobile: (+45) 2023 4527