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University of Copenhagen
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Dean: Merger will destroy my Faculty

While the Department of Chemistry welcomes the prospect of being merged with chemisty research at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharma's Dean Sven Frøkjær thinks otherwise. The merger would simply destroy a well-functioning research environment, he says

If the University of Copenhagen follows the advice of three international experts, chemistry research at the University is to merged into a new super-institution making it one of the largest departments in Europe.

The proposal will better coordinate the University’s chemical research, which according to experts is »uncoordinated and inefficient.«

But not everyone agrees.

Struggling for survival

The merger is an extremely bad idea, says Sven Frøkjær, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pharma).

Pharma has approximately 450 staff and at least one third of them – and the many students they teach – are proposed moved to the Faculty of Science.

»The question is whether we have as good an opportunity to serve the community. I think we will lose opportunities and the momentum in the research and training process we are doing,« thinks Frøkjær, who is unsure if the Faculty can survive such a large drain on its human resources.

Report bias

Frøkjær believes that the report’s findings reflect the fact that the experts were only asked to relate to one specific thing:

»It is clear that there has been a bias in the work report. The experts were asked the question: How can we strengthen chemistry?«

But he thinks the experts never looked beyond the main question they were asked to provide advice to.

»It is perfectly legitimate, in terms of management, to analyse whether there are areas that the University, in its total operation, can strengthen. And here is the perception that it must be chemistry, and I support that one hundred percent. Our chemistry – that is, the analytical chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry – requires that the basic chemistry research is strong and that you have easy access to it. But we do not do chemistry for chemistry’s sake, but for medicine’s,« adds Frøkjær.