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DKK 500m drop kick to UCPH: Details released

University of Copenhagen director says that there will be deep cuts. The details about where, and to who, will be released in the coming year

As the guessing game continues about who, and what, will be affected by the University of Copenhagen’s funding setbacks, more details emerged at a staff meeting on Central Campus Wednesday in the Ceremonial Hall.

The Danish government has slashed funding to all Danish universities research and education. But it has hit the University of Copenhagen particularly hard, taking away its contracted compensation for the lease of the new Faculty of Humanities KUA buildings.

According to the university director Jesper Olesen who presented slides to a packed Ceremonial Hall Wednesday, the best case scenario involves a DKK 300m reduction in the university budget from 2019. The worst case involves a DKK 600-800m reduction.

To steer clear of research, education

According to the university director, 2016 will therefore be a ‘transitional year’, with the university being forced to reduce select groups of staff and activities, ultimately allowing wider space in the budget for long term adjustments, he said.

The plan for the University of Copenhagen is now twofold, according to the director. To reduce costs by DKK 300m, and to carry out initiatives to improve the UCPH finances by a further DKK 200m, making for a DKK 500m reduction, halfway between the best and worst case projected loss of income.

The criteria in which the University of Copenhagen will reduce costs are the following, according to the slide presented by the university director:

Cuts and adaptations should:
1. steer clear of UCPH core activities in research and education.
2. be in support of UCPH strategy
3. be founded on a long term and sustainable financing, allowing leeway for future initiatives
4. reduce UCPH salary and operations costs and increase income
5. be seen in accordance with withdrawals on UCPH capital and assets
6. be in accordance with legislation and accountancy principles

Small reduction in total admitted PhDs

Half of all the planned cuts will take place in that part of the UCPH organisation that is the central administration, leading in all likelihood to a “reduced service, and to longer waiting times”, according to Jesper Olesen’s presentation.

A round of forced reductions – staff being fired – will happen in the first quarter of 2016, in order for it to have full effect on costs for 2017, he explained. Incentives for voluntary dismissal will also be presented to staff soon.

According to documents from a Board meeting Tuesday, the University of Copenhagen will reduce the number of PhDs admitted from 820 to 750 a year.

To improve purchasing practices

The university director spent some time explaining upcoming changes to the University of Copenhagen’s purchasing practices. Costs will be reduced by more compliance with joint purchasing agreements, stricter oversight and control, and a more focussed purchasing staff, he said.

A more detailed rundown of the principles that will be used to ascertain where the cutbacks will hit, can be seen in this document from the University of Copenhagen Board meeting Tuesday 8 April 2015 (in Danish).

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