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Summer greetings from the Dean: A summary of Health's special focus areas

Health is around half way to meeting a range of ambitious targets for 2018: More external funding, increased international activities and a clear framework for recruitment. Here is a brief status report – and a personal summer greeting from Dean Lars Bo Nielsen.

Some people call them special focus areas while others talk of “must-win-battles”. But they mean the same: They are activities or measures that will strengthen academic excellence at the faculty.

This year the headings are external funding, internationalisation and recruitment. Here at the start of the summer holidays we have a good opportunity to follow-up on the many underlying activities.

Watch the video with Dean Lars Bo Nielsen's summer greeting

External funding

Following the faculty management team’s seminar in November 2017, a handful of specific initiatives have been set in motion to strengthen the work of attracting more grants.

    • Building relationships to foundations is an initiative at management level, where the dean and vice-deans hold meetings with selected foundations to strengthen relations and gain knowledge about the calls for applications, so that the big applications match what these foundations want. So far there have been meetings with the Danish National Research Foundation, the Lundbeck Foundation, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Nordea Foundation and Innovation Fund Denmark, and more foundations will follow, while there will also be similar meetings at department head level. The faculty management team also has ‘Calls from foundations' as a recurring item on its agenda and thus regularly discusses which foundations should be contacted – and by whom.
    • Professional networks across departments comprises a range of interdisciplinary events at faculty or departmental level, at which researchers can develop new collaborations within fields that have untapped potential. One example is the meeting in February at which a hundred researchers met across the Lundbeck Foundation's thematic calls, or The Annual Research Meeting that is held at the Department of Clinical Medicine. A huge success with the participation of more than 300 researchers. Read The path to knowledge is paved with openness for more background. Furthermore, a range of introductory scholarships to interdisciplinary PhD projects have been established, where researchers from across the departments can apply to the faculty for three months' salary for a PhD student.
    • ReAp as a support and management tool covers the faculty's work to create a visual overview of application patterns. The aim is to promote and improve the individual researcher's applications and identify those researchers who apply in vain and perhaps need the confidential help of their immediate supervisor to apply to other foundations or to write better applications. Find out more by reading More ReAP will benefit everyone.
    • Establishment of academic advisory boards and the preparation of white papers is about maintaining and developing positions of strength in research. Initial focus is on the cardiovascular area. This is, among other things, characterised by having enormous significance for public health. You can also read: Health gets its first cardiovascular board.
    • Help package for ERC grants is a funding pool totalling DKK 1.5 million for distribution among 15 researchers who wish to position themselves for an ERC grant. The DKK 100,000 can be used for anything that helps researchers write a good application and the offer is open to everyone – including researchers who do not already have a long CV. The requirement is an ERC application no later than two years after the money has been granted. Read more: DKK 100,000 in midwife help for an ERC grant.


    Internationalisation is a special focus area because leading health research and education takes place in networks between the top universities worldwide. Health is therefore increasing those teaching and research activities that will bring the faculty closer to the international elite.


    The starting point for Health's work with recruitment is the seven new norms for appointment of academic staff to permanent positions which the senior management team has adopted. The goal is to ensure there are more qualified applicants – also from abroad – to academic positions. At the same time, the administrative procedures for appointing academic staff in fixed-term positions have been made easier. The faculty management team has also decided that the departments should prepare an individual recruitment plan, and that social media including LinkedIn should be used as a recruitment platform.