Focus groups submit recommendations for further strategy work

At the end of last year, four focus groups toiled intensively to contribute input to work on a common ambition and strategic direction for the faculty. This article is about the many ideas and other input the focus groups have passed on for an overall strategy for Tech.

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Employees in four focus groups have focused on each of the four strategic themes selected by the faculty management team in line with the AU strategy (Green transition, Digitalisation, Entrepreneurship, and Identity and profiling). Photo: Chris Montgomery, Unsplash

Employees in four focus groups have focused on each of the four strategic themes selected by the faculty management team in line with the AU strategy (Green transition, Digitalisation, Entrepreneurship, and Identity and profiling). The groups are composed of representatives from the administration, departments and centres, and they were tasked to gather specialist reflections on the future direction within the individual themes.

The results of their work are four short whitepapers, which will be addressed by the faculty management team after which there will be a broader process.

“I wish to thank the participants in the focus groups for their good work and the result in the very useful whitepapers. We have had the first presentation of the whitepapers in the faculty management and that has already contributed to fruitful discussions. The focus groups' recommendations give us a strong basis for the further work on the strategy, and I’m very much looking forward to scrutinise them even further in the coming months,” says Eskild Holm Nielsen, dean of the Faculty of Technical Sciences.

>> Launch of strategy process for Tech

Below the four themes will be reviewed and you can find links to the whitepapers.

Green transition

Tech educates and researches in solutions for the green transition. But what does that mean? And what initiatives do we need to exploit our strengths in the area? Below is a summary of the focus group's recommendations.

The focus group proposes a high level of ambition based on close collaboration between science, business and a number of other stakeholders.

"The green transition is an area where Tech can really make a difference. The academic disciplines are wide-ranging and can work together to support each other in finding the new solutions we need. Therefore, a central element in the focus group's discussions has been how we can strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration at the faculty," says Carsten Suhr Jacobsen, head of the Department of Environmental Science and one of the chairs of the focus group.

Tech's approach to sustainable development of the chain between agriculture, industry, construction, energy and consumption should be systemic within research, education and public sector consultancy. This includes solutions to further reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions, develop synergies, and reduce trade-offs between food supply, biodiversity, the ecosystem and the use of resources, and finally to develop new technologies and digitalisation.

In their whitepaper, the group emphasises that all solutions should include biological, technical and societal aspects of the green transition and it identifies three focus areas that Tech should address:

  • Improve interdisciplinary research collaboration across departments and centres.
  • Develop current and future state-of-the-art research capabilities and infrastructure in collaboration with external stakeholders, including Living Labs.
  • Enhance effect through communication, education, public sector consultancy and own practice.

Read the full whitepaper on the green transition here


The “twin transition” concept underlines that the green transition of the future relies on digital solutions. For this reason, Tech must also consider how digitalisation can be incorporated into strategic initiatives in relation to the green transition. Read a summary of the focus group's recommendations here.

The focus group's overall observations are that Tech is uniquely positioned to contribute to the twin transition, as the faculty embraces expertise, education and research within digitalisation and the green transition. Furthermore, the sectors with which Tech works and researches into are facing a technological quantum leap that offers completely new opportunities to find digital solutions to green challenges.

"Digitalisation is the key to understanding and delivering the green transition. For this reason, Tech must excel at interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers with digital expertise and researchers with domain expertise. And this collaboration must be supported to a greater extent by data and computing infrastructure. It simply requires that we – students as well as researchers – raise our digital competences to the next level," says Brian Vinter, vice-dean for research and chair for the focus group on digitalisation.

The areas the focus group recommends pursuing to meet the ambition that Tech is to be a leading faculty in computer and data-intensive solutions for the green transition and other societal challenges are that Tech:

  • Work towards becoming a front-runner in data and computing infrastructure and management.
  • Collaborate better across Tech, supported by digital technologies and data Collaborate seamlessly internally and with external partners using digital technologies.
  • Boost graduates' digital skills. Graduates from Tech should be competent in digitalisation of their domain and they should be able to use this to create solutions to promote the green transition and address other societal challenges.
  • Strengthen its digital profile and brand, among other things through major flagship projects within green and digital transformation.

Read the full whitepaper on digitalisation here


Tech should contribute to growth in society by educating graduates who can meet the labour-market demand of the future and who have the courage to set up startups and spinouts. That is why we must be strong in entrepreneurship and forge stronger ties between research and companies. You can read the focus group's recommendations here.

The entrepreneurship focus group's ambition is for Tech to be a leading, research-based, ‘entrepreneurial faculty’. We have a good outset for this in our inclusive culture and collaborative attitude.

"I see a huge potential in Tech being able to make a significant contribution to entrepreneurship in Danish society. We’re already doing well, but there’s a strong wish across the faculty to contribute even more to innovation and development," says Stefan Borre-Gude, deputy head of department at the Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering, and one of the chairs of the focus group.

The focus group considered it important to redefine entrepreneurship so that it makes sense in the context of Tech by expanding the concept from entrepreneurship to 'the entrepreneurial faculty'. This means that entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, innovation, spinouts and start-ups as well as collaboration and knowledge-sharing with companies are all elements that Tech should work with.

The focus group therefore recommends the following initiatives:

  • Identify the barriers to working with entrepreneurship facing researchers, students, and  companies/SMEs.
  • Strengthen the culture around entrepreneurship: Incentive structures in particular, but also more focus on education and stronger internal collaboration in order to build a stronger ‘entrepreneurial culture’.
  • Create a cohesive system that will ensure smoother execution of the ‘entrepreneurial faculty’. This applies to the infrastructure of AU and the faculties (e.g. TTO), the role of The Kitchen and contact with the external parties who will benefit from Tech's entrepreneurial approach.

Read the full whitepaper on entrepreneurship here

Identity and profiling

Tech is a new faculty and consists of departments with different academic fields. We have to find our commonalities, make visible our uniqueness, and be clear about our strengths – both internally and externally. Read below the group's suggestions for how the overall ambitions for Tech's focus on identity and profiling can be implemented in the future.

The focus group has worked on defining the identity of Tech internally and profiling the faculty externally in very general terms. The group has drawn up the following proposals for an ambition regarding identity and profiling:

We recommend creating a common identity at Tech through increased collaboration to ensure that we exploit our synergies and deliver the breadth between basic research and practice-based activities. This could mean that we can respond to entirely new challenges, deliver better solutions, achieve a major societal impact and achieve motivation and job satisfaction by contributing to solutions to the challenges facing society.

In order to forge strong and clear profiling of the Faculty of Technical Sciences, we recommend that Tech provides a knowledge foundation in the form of research, development, education and research-based public sector consultancy, and creates solutions and technologies in response to a number of relevant societal challenges. The knowledge foundation should cover both the cognitive and technological developments that underpin political action.

"Internally, we must secure broad academic networks across all departments at Tech, and we must make sure that everyone feels included and that there is a real sense of community. Once these internal conditions are in place, we will have a better basis for being able to deliver on our academic breadth, reap synergies and thus become the preferred partner for the business community, government agencies and knowledge institutions," says Hanne Bach, director of the Danish Centre for Environment and Energy and chair of the focus group on identity and profiling.

Read the full whitepaper on identity and profiling here

Next steps

The four whitepapers from the focus groups with their specific recommendations for initiatives within the strategic priorities will be included in further work by the faculty management team on the final strategy for Tech. The strategy process has constant focus on inclusion and decentralised input.

The common thread for all sub-processes is how we at Tech can implement the AU strategy and at the same time clarify what we will stand for and be recognised for as a faculty.

In addition to the work by the focus groups, Tech's strategy work consists of two other main tracks dealing with management development in the faculty management team as well as coordination and co-operation in the administrative area, internally at the faculty, and at Nat and the administrative centre. 

Participants in the focus groups

Green transition:
ENVS Carsten Suhr Jacobsen, Chair
ANIS Klaus Lønne Ingvartsen, Chair
ENG Anders Bentien
NAT-TECH ADM Bent Lorentzen
FOOD Hanne Lakkenborg Kristensen
ASE Kasper Lynge
ENVS Lars Kjerulf Petersen 
FOOD Lene Hegelund
BIOS Morten Tune Strandberg 
ANIS Peter Lund
QGG Torben Asp 
DCE Vibeke Vestergaard Nielsen 
AGRO Uffe Jørgensen
TECH Kia Sofie Abildtrup, Secretary
Mobilize Strategy Consulting Marie Louise Blauenfeldt, Facilitator 

TECH Brian Vinter, Chair
AGRO Mogens Humlekrog Greve
ANIS Søren Østergaard
ENG/DIGIT Hugo Daniel Macedo
 ENG/DIGIT Peter Gorm Larsen
 ENVS Peter Langen
QGG Just Jensen
ENG Mikael Bergholz Knudsen
DCE Lars Moeslund Svendsen
DCA Claus Bo Andreasen
NAT-TECH ADM Kim Kusk Mortensen
TECHCagdas Citirikkaya, Facilitator
TECH Ida Grarup Nielsen, Secretary

FOOD Michelle Williams, Chair
ASE Stefan Borre-Gude, Chair
AGRO Henrik Brinch-Pedersen
ANIS Jan V. Nørgaard
ANIS Mette Olaf Nielsen
ASE Helle Wivel
BIOS Annette Bruhn
BIOS Stine Slotsbo
DCA Margrethe Høstgaard
DCE Michael Strangholt
ENG Henning Sejer Jakobsen
ENVS Hans Sanderson
ENVS Pedro Carvalho
FOOD Stella Spanou
QGG Kristian Meier
TECH Ida Grarup, secretary
TECH Thomas Plesner, facilitator

Identity and profiling:
DCE Hanne Bach, Chair
ENG Lars Ditlev M. Ottosen, Chair
AGRO Sabine Ravnskov
BIOS Aksel Bo Madsen
FOOD Margrethe Therkildsen
ANIS Ole Højberg
ENG Jesper Bruun
ENVS Marlene Schmidt Plejdrup
QGG Morten Kargo
ASE Kim Harel
DCE Kirsten Bang
DCA Klaus Horsted
NAT-TECH ADM Anne Mette Siem
TECHBo Bukh Linneberg, Facilitator
TECH Ida Marie Gerdes, Secretary