University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Management: The administration reform is about the best use of our resources

Update — The reform of the University of Copenhagen administration is about finances, quality and a good working environment. It is therefore also about getting better at applying ourselves to the right things.

Mergers. Impressive external funding. New requirements from society. The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) has grown and has developed tremendously. Our turnover has increased from approximately DKK 3.5bn to over DKK 10bn over the course of 20 years.


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While we have become this huge, excellent and diverse university, we have not taken a coherent and thorough look at how we need to organise our administrative support.

Until now. The Board asked us in 2022, to cut administration costs by DKK 300 million a year and invest the money in research, education, communication and innovation. The reduction target is based on a comparison with similar universities.

We can only succeed with such a large cut if we organise our administration completely differently. The agreement with the Board therefore, is that we will carry out a reform of the UCPH administration that has a focus on finances, quality, and a good working environment.

A time when we need to take care of each other

On 19 June the Board will consider a proposal for the new administrative organisation recommended by the UCPH management. The proposal will be based on thorough work on ten design projects, which currently involve approximately 400 managers and employees.

In the spring, consultations will take place in the collaboration committees and in management fora. We have already conducted analyses of how things look today, and what UCPH staff and students want to maintain and improve.

If the Board approves the proposal, implementation will begin during the autumn of 2024. Many administrative jobs and workflows will change. We will also need to cut jobs.

As management, we cannot provide all the answers or assurances about the future

This is therefore a time when we need to take care of each other. As management, we cannot provide all the answers or assurances about the future. But we can say that we do have faith in the future administration of UCPH being an attractive workplace, and that it can provide good support based on collaboration and professionalism.

We cannot succeed in achieving efficiency improvements and higher quality without at the same time ensuring that it’s attractive to be in the UCPH administration.

Collaboration needs to be easier

Here in the University Post, you could recently read an article by four researchers. They wrote that »it is the technical and administrative staff that make it possible for the academic staff to spend their time on research and teaching at the highest level«. They also offered a telling example. »Virtually all PhD theses at our department extend a special thanks to named administrative employees«.

We see these two perspectives – proximity and cooperation – as being linked

We need to maintain this division of roles, and the good relations. Surveys among staff and students also indicate that close relationships are very important. But studies also show that there are challenges in terms of collaboration across UCPH.

We see these two perspectives – proximity and cooperation – as being linked. An example: When a scientist is to be recruited, there are currently five administrative areas involved in the process. Recruitment also takes place in several different ways across UCPH. The local administrative staffer is therefore often the one who ends up putting it all together.

One of the main elements of the reform is to create a genuine unified administration, designed to work together. This does not mean, of course, that we can do without good relationships, specialized knowledge, and physical presence.

But it does mean that we can free up time from coordination to something that creates more value. In the recruitment example, that could be co-creating a department’s hiring strategy or taking care of the personal onboarding when a new employee has arrived.

The reform of the administration must, in other words, be about the best use of our resources.