Department of Bioscience to change name to the Department of Ecoscience

A new beginning is taking shape for the Department of Bioscience. After protracted preliminary work, including a new strategy, a number of strongholds have now been identified to make fertile ground for a new focus. As part of this work, it has been decided to change name to the Department of Ecoscience. This will be from 1 October 2021.

Head of Department Ole Hertel is grateful for the hard work and commitment from employees in connection with the strategy and process for the change of name (AU photo).

In January 2020, the Department of Bioscience was split when the Faculty of Science and Technology was divided into the two faculties of Technical Sciences (Tech) and Natural Sciences (NAT). As a result of the division, part of the department came under NAT and part under Tech. For several reasons, including a change of department head, the name change of the specialist biology department at Tech was not implemented, and it continued under the name Bioscience.

Now that Professor Ole Hertel has been appointed head of department, and following a longer strategy process, the department can make a new start. The new name, the Department of Ecoscience, is more relevant for the academic profile of the department, in that it signals the solid anchoring in the rest of Tech, and it demonstrates the academic breadth and direction of the department, explains Ole Hertel.

"There's great identity in a name, and I'm deeply grateful for the massive commitment that has been demonstrated by employees in the name-changing process and the new strategy with its formulation of the department's future goals. The department applies an ecosystem-oriented approach to its research activities, and ‘ecology’ means exactly that; the study of the relationship between living creatures and their environment: the study of ecosystems. The new name clearly signals that we focus on the part of natural science dealing with a systemic approach to ecology," says Ole Hertel.

Academic tracks with clear directions

The department's ecosystem approach is reflected in the strategic division into four academic strongholds, which also form the framework for the sections. The strengths are sharply separated, and there is considerable overlap between them, as is also reflected in the department's research. The four strongholds are: Terrestrial ecosystems, Fresh-water ecosystems, Marine ecosystems and The Arctic. The latter covers terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, but focuses on the geographical area of the Arctic: particularly Greenland.

In 2022, the Ecoscience sites in Jutland in Silkeborg and Kalø will relocate to the campus in Aarhus, leaving the department with two primary locations: Risø in Roskilde and Aarhus Campus. There is an ambition for the relocation to Aarhus to provide opportunities for increased and closer collaboration with the other departments at Tech and NAT. It will also bring the department closer to the study environment, and this will provide opportunities to increase student recruitment and contribute to teaching.

These parameters have been included in the upcoming strategy, which is planned for publication in early October 2021.

The relocation means that two well-functioning workplaces will be closed to become an integrated part of campus. This is part of an overall campus plan for the university, and the new strategy is therefore also designed to help forge a new, well-functioning unit on campus in Aarhus, and to ensure that collaboration with the Roskilde site is maintained and strengthened, so that the department continues as one strong united unit, despite the geographical division.