The dean take stock of 2020

Dean Eskild Holm Nielsen takes stock of the past year. 2020 has been a year that has called for readiness to change to an extreme degree, but it has been handled with great professionalism and creativity by all Tech's employees. In the years to come we will be facing financial challenges that also require us to work together and find solutions so that we can come out strong on the other side.

Eskild Holm Nielsen
Dean Eskild Holm Nielsen (Photo: Melissa Yildirim, AU)

Dear colleagues,

Tech's first year as a new faculty has in no way gone as we imagined. In 2020, many things in our world have been turned upside down. And whether you have been in contact with the public sector, had classes to teach, or had research to conduct in laboratories, all activities will have been subject to restrictions. And you have had to find new solutions and forge new pathways through the uncharted country that the corona pandemic in many ways represents.  

You’ve been fantastic at grasping and embracing the challenges and opportunities the year has offered, and with your resilient work, drive and focus on finding solutions rather than just giving up, you’ve succeeded in getting the vast majority of the work done, despite the difficult odds. For example, this applies to online teaching, the reorganisation of exams, widespread use of online meetings, furnishing home offices, holding meetings while keeping a distance and disinfecting, developing new remote and online concepts, and much more. Many, many thanks for your innovative and positive approach! 

Our finances are being challenged

Unfortunately, the challenges will not stop at the end of the year. Even though there is a vaccine on the way, corona will also make its mark on 2021, but I’m sure that we’ll be able to get over the problems it presents in the best possible way.

We’re also facing a significant financial challenge at the faculty – especially the fiscal years 2022-24. The financial challenges requires us to work together to find solutions. We must forge long-lasting solutions so that we continue to have a competitive organisation with healthy finances in the future. Among other things, the financial challenge is due to the long-standing political cutbacks in public sector consultancy of two per cent per year, that the education revenue comes with a delay and because the engineering area receives relatively few basic funds. We will try to tackle some of the challenges via the senior management team, while others will have to be solved internally at Tech and at the individual departments.

Strategy to be rolled out

Since the summer holidays, the faculty management team has been developing Tech's strategy process to give all of us at Tech a common direction and identity.

Four focus groups have been set up with employee representatives, and up to Christmas they have been working with the themes of Identity and Profiling, Green Transition, Entrepreneurship and Digitalisation. I’m looking forward to working with the good input and ideas from the focus groups, which I expect will help to establish strong and trusting collaborations between the faculty's units; collaboration which can result in tangible results to benefit society. 

We work together on solutions

We are a faculty with strong focus on high-quality education, consultancy and research that forge solutions to socially relevant challenges. I’ve seen everything from the development of sustainable gin and drones to help reduce carbon emissions; to new plant-based concepts, sustainable textiles and many other incredibly exciting projects. These innovative solutions testify to the great wealth of ideas and the extensive collaboration across research areas and subjects here at Tech. This interdisciplinary approach is the way forward to finding new solutions. 

Our public sector consultancy is also of very high quality, benefiting both the university and the organisations that use the consultancy services. After three years of strenuous efforts, we have proof of this high quality, in that now we are the first university in Denmark to be certified under the recognised international ISO 9001 standard. We can all be proud of our achievement.

When we step into the new year, we will be welcoming everyone to the four new engineering departments, all of which will see the light of day on 1 January 2021. An intense and demanding process has paved the way for this, and I have a great understanding that this has been a challenging time for the many of you involved. I believe that this process and the new departments will bring the university's already strong engineering area into the highest international class. You have been very supportive of the process and many of you have played an active role, and I hope that you will help in the further development of the area to benefit research, teaching, and public sector consultancy.

I’d like to thank the administrative centre for their sterling efforts in the engineering area. Our work with the central administration as well as with our good friends at Nat is extremely important and something we have to focus on.

Finally, I’d like to thank all of you for your contributions to ensuring that we have run a very well-functioning new faculty in challenging times. We will have to stand together to face the challenges awaiting us in the period to come, so that Tech can continue to contribute with solutions relevant to society and public sector consultancy, and so that we can continue to educate talented graduates.

It has been a pleasure working with you, and I wish all of you and your loved ones a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Best wishes,

Eskild Holm Nielsen, dean