The dean's summer greeting 2021
The last semester was characterised by coronavirus restrictions but also by the beginning of a slow and safe return to something resembling normal life. The last six months were also characterised by a difficult cost-saving process, all the while Technical Sciences was establishing itself as a new faculty. The summer holiday is just around the corner, and it is so well deserved
It’s time to take stock of an extraordinary period, characterised by major changes and circumstances that have tested the extent of our adaptability.
I know much has been asked of you in connection with lockdown and working remotely, and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that it has been a challenging time. I would also like to express my gratitude and respect for your creativity, flexibility and commitment to maintaining high levels of research, innovation, teaching and administration. It's impressive what we've achieved and what we’ve been through this past year. Fortunately, we are heading towards better days, society and the university are opening back up, and we are beginning to feel the joy of being out in the world once again.
It has only been a few days since the difficult, but necessary, cost-saving process came to an end; a process that, unfortunately, affected approximately 80 positions at the faculty. This has been a difficult time for many people, and we need to allow everyone time to recover, and then we need to look ahead. Our surroundings have high expectations of us, and we can now focus on creating the best conditions for our students, increasing our funding, and creating innovative solutions for the green transition of society.
On 1 January we welcomed our four new engineering departments, and on 1 March four new heads of department. The new departments are well underway to establishing themselves. I would like to thank the employees who stepped in as acting heads of department and secretariat managers. Together with dedicated secretariat staff members and department management teams, you have played a key role in ensuring a good start for the new departments. I would also like to extend my thanks to all employees at the four departments who, under difficult circumstances, had to build up new relationships and partnerships. I'm sure things will turn out well, and that we will get to know each other much better as conditions normalise.
In May, Tech hosted the conference Research and the green transition - food, agriculture, biodiversity and environment, in collaboration with Karin Gaardsted (MP, Social Democratic Party) and Per Larsen (MP, Conservative People's Party). The conference focused on the important and valuable work being done within research-based public sector consultancy at the faculty. The importance of public sector consultancy for the green transition of society was highlighted, including the fact that massive spending cuts to the area are detrimental to research. I hope that our persistent calls for action will make a difference when it's time for a political decision on the reallocation contribution.
In May, the faculty management team gathered for a strategy seminar to discuss strategic ambitions and benchmarks in the Tech strategy.?It is now time to test these ambitions and benchmarks by converting the strategy into actions and activities at the departments. The departments are at very different stages of the local strategy processes, and a self-assessment process will therefore be launched in the autumn, where each department must consider Tech’s strategy and AU’s action plan and activities for 2022, based on everything that is already taking place at the departments. In doing so, we hope to merge current activities with the overall new direction for the faculty.?The Faculty Liaison Committee (FSU) and the academic council will also be consulted on the implementation of the strategy. In January 2022, we expect to be able to kick-start Tech's 2022-2025 strategy with a joint seminar for the faculty.??
During the first six months of 2021, I have seen you, the employees at Tech, carry out a lot of excellent research, receive a wealth of prestigious awards, win close to DKK 700 million in grants, create the framework we need to keep things going, and demonstrate that collaboration is the way forward. You can be proud of yourself and the results you've achieved together, despite such challenging conditions!
In the near future, we will consider how we can implement the recent political decision regarding more and more locally anchored degree programmes “Tættere på - flere uddannelser og stærkere lokalsamfund. It will be challenging exciting, and it shows that we at Tech still garner a great deal of political attention and have a key role to play. This places certain expectations on us, and it emphasises the importance of our ability to collaborate, both internally and with external parties.
I am also looking forward to seeing you all again in the autumn when the Dean’s Office and I pay visits to all our locations.
And with those words, I would like to wish you all a lovely, well-deserved and sunny summer holiday!
Eskild Holm Nielsen
Dean, Faculty of Technical Sciences