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The project manager: "I think, yes. My job is more fun than my colleagues’ jobs”

Mit KU — Ditte Thøgersen turns up at the office in the Universitetsparken every day, but it's seldom she gets to stay there. As a project manager she is constantly running errands through the university’s departments and faculties around Copenhagen.

Ditte Thøgersen turns up at the office in the Universitetsparken every day, but it’s seldom she gets to stay there. As a project manager in the Research & Innovation (R&I) department, she is constantly running errands through the university’s departments and faculties around Copenhagen.

“I probably spend about 2 to 3 working hours a week on the bike,” she says, when we catch up with her at a stationary moment behind her desk. Ditte works in R&I’s team for strategy and development, where she “promotes an innovation agenda” and supports “excellence in research”. It’s all about taking care of and fine-tuning the machinery behind UCPH research.

“The cool thing is getting out. I meet the commitment everywhere at UCPH. In the operation and service departments, among the scientific staff, in management groups. It is this energy that makes it good to go to work.”

Project manager Ditte Thøgersen

Age: 33

Has been at UCPH: For six years – first at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, since then at Research & Innovation under the central administration, where she is a project manager in the strategy and development section.

When she is not working at UCPH, she is a: “Cultural consumer! I go to the theatre alot and often take my boyfriend to Berlin, where we eat expensive food and go to art exhibitions. A real elite consumer!”

When asked if she also encounters grumbling and controversy, she smiles.

“Everyone wants to decide. Everyone thinks they are better qualified to make decisions about everything – and this can be a challenge. But I think this is the charm of UCPH. It is never a waste of time to listen to those who work there. And I find my peace in the coalition of the willing. There is always someone who you cannot reach – and they should be left alone, and they are likely committed to other agendas. Let us focus on the positive energy.”

Testing the UCPH mood

Ditte took her bachelor’s degree in rhetoric at UCPH and then took a master’s in political communication and management at Copenhagen Business School. She wanted to do research, but when she failed to pick up one of the rarely offered social science PhDs, she found an opening behind the scenes in the management secretariat of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences as a personal assistant for the prorector for education.

It was an intensive crash course in the UCPH machine, and after yet another position in the management secretariat, she got a job in R&I – which, in addition to her team includes those working on patenting and licensing UCPH inventions and coordinating the complex work of applying for EU grants for research.

When you bike around the faculties like that, you should also be able to get a feel for the overall state of UCPH morale

There is a feeling that we are all in the same boat. That it’s about getting the long-term savings in place, so we don’t have to lose more colleagues

“We talk a lot about the mood here after the round of layoffs last year. I have taken part in some of the work on the cuts, and I have been concerned about how it would be received when they came out and said: “You have just said goodbye to good colleagues, and now we are asking whether you can find other savings elsewhere”. But I have been surprised at how constructive people have been. There is a feeling that we are all in the same boat. That it’s about getting the long-term savings in place, so we don’t have to lose more colleagues.”

Ditte Thøgersen is only 33, but six years at UCPH has already given her a broad network throughout the entire university. She has organized conferences, been involved in digitization projects, organized Christmas and summer parties and has “a spoon in many pots,” as she puts it.

“I think, yes. My job is more fun than my colleagues’ jobs,” she laughs as she makes her way out of the office and down to the bike. “I always think that people must dream they were me.”

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