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Comment: Explain why we need the merger, please

Vanessa is an Australian postdoc doing stem cell research at the Department of Basic Animal and Veterinary Sciences. She wonders: What is the point of the merger?

The aims of restructuring are not clear.

The distributed letter on combining four faculties into two may be a futile task that will lead to only further discontent in employees at the University. The aims for doing so are poorly described and appear to be a cover for the fact that further administration cuts are required.

Firstly, how does combining two faculties improve professional co-operation? In merging different disciplines, how does the co-operation improve? With physical separation of buildings, how is this to be envisaged? How are the synergies thought to be achieved? Simply by changing the Faculty name on your professional byline is not going to increase synergy. What are the specific synergies anticipated? Basic research and applied research are two separate research disciplines. Does the University want to therefore produce translational research instead, and hope to remove basic and applied research?

It is paramount that a university has both basic and applied research as well as translation research. Does translational research not already exist in varying disciplines in the university? Therefore, what is the point? How are education programmes going to get stronger? Merging (from historical perspectives) have led to weakening and not strengthening of programmes (as seen in the veterinary curriculum at the Faculty of Life Sciences following the merger of KVL to the University of Copenhagen, given cutbacks to teaching disciplines, both with staff and taught material).

How does the merger of faculties improve the university’s involvement with the surrounding society? In what respect? Does the surrounding society care that the university has two faculties instead of four? How does having two facultites improve business co-operation? The aims of this merger are poorly explained and don’t seem to bear any sense.

The employees of this university have been subject to immense changes in the last years, such as budget cuts and loss of staff. Yet more changes to structure just don’t seem to make any sense, but instead, heightens disgruntlement, stress levels and anxiety, in that the University structure is crumbling, rather than strengthening.

Have these changes not got more to do with budget cuts, such as reduction of administration staff, and that these proposed aims just sugar coat the underlying budgeting problems the university faces? And how much is this change going to cost the university? Likely thousands if not millions of kroner. Can’t this money be better spent on building infrastructure, improving facilities, or staff? This would better build up the confidence of the employees. And finally, will the recent change in government mean such changes could be avoided?

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