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International recruitment - Between a dynamic workforce and retaining excellent researchers

  • 22 Nov 2016
  • 12:00 - 16:30 (WEST)
  • Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

One of the most significant roles of university management in supporting the internationalization of research activities in Denmark is the recruitment of international research talent.

International recruitment is a matter of attracting the best talent worldwide – Danish or not – and promoting a dynamic workforce at the universities by opening up faculty positions to international competition. This exposes Danish researchers to what it takes to compete with the best performers internationally.

Denmark possesses internationally leading research environments, and because of that Danish universities have the capacity to attract some of the best researchers in the world by offering the prospect of an attractive academic career. While Danish universities struggle with matching salaries offered for associate professorships and professorships at elite universities abroad, research suggests that career prospects and research quality are the main drivers of researcher emigration, whereas salary plays a secondary role.

Attracting excellent researchers from universities abroad is one thing. Retaining them and strengthening their interaction with Danish research environments is quite another. A new study from the Think Tank DEA, supported financially by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, suggests that this is a challenge for Danish universities.

Foreign, junior researchers are faced with insecure career prospects when taking up temporary positions at Danish universities. This may provide Danish universities with a more dynamic workforce, but it also makes foreign researchers likely to leave for more long-term job offers. More generally, accessing the potential benefits derived from hiring foreign researchers, such as new research and funding networks as well as cross pollination of ideas, requires that foreign researchers are both professionally and socially integrated into the Danish research environments, which is not always the case.

On November 22nd 2016, Aarhus University, the Danish Think Tank DEA, and the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation will be hosting a debate conference on how Danish universities can better access the benefits offered by international recruitment.

Conference program

The conference will be moderated by Professor Nils O. Andersen, the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

12.00 Lunch and network

13:00 Welcome by Pro-Rector Berit Eika, University of Aarhus

13:10 Presentation of conference program by CEO Stina Vrang Elias, The Think Tank DEA

13:15 Shared governance at UC Berkeley: empowering the faculty. Keynote address by Vice Provost for the Faculty, University of California, Berkeley, Benjamin Hermalin

13.45 Presentation of analysis of international recruitment. Presentation by Senior Consultant Jeppe Wohlert, The Think Tank DEA

Strategic career planning for foreign junior researchers

14:00 Investing in talent. Presentation by Professor Morten O. Ravn, Department of Economics University College London

14:15 Panel debate with Ayo Wahlberg, Professor with special responsibilities, Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Copenhagen; Marie Louise Bech Nosch, Professor and Director of the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen; Henrik Bindslev, Dean, The Faculty of Engineering, University of Southern Denmark.

15:00 Coffee break

How can we better access the benefits offered by international recruitment?

15:20 Culture and language at a Danish university. Presentation by Michelle H. Williams, Head of Department, Department of Food Science, Science and Technology, Aarhus University

15:35 Panel debate with Anne Marie Pahuus, Vice-Dean, Arts, Aarhus University; Lars Arge, Professor, Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University; Sune Haugbølle, Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University.

16:20 Closing remarks by Lise Wogensen Bach, Vice-Dean, The Faculty of Health Sciences, Aarhus University

16:30 End of conference

Register for the conference on DEA's web page...


The debate conference will take place at Aarhus University, Building 1632-201, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C, and will include the launch of the third report on the International outlook of Danish research by DEA with financial support from The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation. The first two reports were released on separate occasions and focus on International mobility and networks and International research funding.

The conference will be in English and has a capacity of 120 participants to stimulate discussion between speakers and the audience. Participation is free but registration is required.

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