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Copenhagen to hire 300 new scientists

The University of Copenhagen is to take on 300 new research staff, international and Danish, and spend approximately DKK 700 million of its net worth until 2015

After years of layoffs, cutbacks and budget stress, the University of Copenhagen is now to use some of the cash it has stored for safekeeping in the university vaults.

In the new university budget, a whopping 300 new job openings have been earmarked for top scientists from around the world. Management dares invest now because the Danish government has secured the university with stable funding for the next three years.

All this has emerged from the last Board of the University meeting, as reported on the Danish-language site Uniavisen.dk.

Director: We want the best

It is »the best budget ever« says University of Copenhagen director Jørgen Honoré to our Danish-language section Uniavisen.dk.

The first new scientists should be hired this coming summer. Jørgen Honoré stresses that they are looking to hire from the international market, not just locally. And the university wants to fill long-term positions.

»We want it to be a fairly fast process, but we also want the very best. Mature, competent scientists that can raise the standards of teaching and research, tutor more PhD’s and raise funds,« he says.

Govt. spending three years, not one

It will be up to the individual faculties to decide whether to hire assistant professors, professors or lecturers. And though it is not in the hands of the management, Jørgen Honoré hazards a guess that the jobs will be spread proportionately between faculties according to size.

The hiring will cost DKK 218 million and is financed using the university’s savings – its net worth – currently worth approximately DKK 1.2 billion. Taking further investments in 2014 and 2015 into account, the net worth will be down to approximately DKK 500 million by 2015.

Management has justified its spending with the Danish government’s new earmarked financing for universities, which covers three years instead of one, as was previously the case. This means the university can invest strategically, says Jørgen Honoré.

Needs partial external funding

According to him, the assumption is that there will still be a political incentive to support research and education in 2016. Desperate measures, in terms of layoffs once the savings are spent, should not be an issue.

Less secure is that management has included external funding in the budget. This is projected, not guaranteed, funding. It includes grant money procured by UCPH scientists from public bodies, the EU, private funds and donors, as well as public funding based on incentives put in place by the government. The university is paid more when students achieve better results and complete their degrees on time.

Read: UCPH to avoid financial abyss

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