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Management explains how it will tackle mega-grants

New Year’s letter addresses fears by staff that new centres will lead to A and B team

If there are any negative side-effects to getting large donations for new research centres, management will try to avoid them.

This was one of the key messages by the team of managers to staff and students at the University of Copenhagen in a New Year’s address on KUnet.

The University of Copenhagen received a number of large external grants in 2010, including grants from the Novo Nordisk Fund (the DanStem Centre and the Metabolic Research Centre), the A.P. Møller Fund (the Panum building project) and other private and state funds.

Also tenure track positions

Rector Ralf Hemmingsen, Prorector Thomas Bjørnholm and University Director Jørgen Honoré explain in the letter to staff and students that the many donations will strengthen the quality of basic research, education and the collaboration with the business community.

Fears expressed at the time by critics and sceptics that the new centres will lead to a dramatic increase in lecturers on temporary contracts will be addressed.

»Fundamentally speaking, the growth in external funding means that we in the upcoming years must work towards changes in the appointment structure, so that there is not a dramatic increase in ’loose’ positions. The external funds must also be able to finance appointments, which have a career outlook – ’tenure track’«, the managers write.

No cannibalism

Sceptics have warned that the new externally funded entities will be the new elite of the university: highly-funded, with better salaries, careers, equipment and buildings.

But the centres should also contribute to the improvement of education at the University of Copenhagen, they say.

»We do not wish to have A-teams and B-teams determined by structures. Departments and centres should work in harmony where each retains their strength and their distinctiveness without cannibalising the other. And the centres must be able to bring their knowledge in play broadly throughout the University,« management says.

See the full text on KUnet here (needs log-in)

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