Aarhus University Seal

External stakeholders contribute useful input for the development of AU's new green degree programmes

Aarhus University is currently developing two new degree programmes at AU Viborg, and from 2024 these will teach the labour force of the future about the green transition of agricultural and food production. Therefore, representatives from companies, educational institutions and government agencies were invited to give their suggestions on how the new study programmes should be structured.

In November, around 20 representatives from small and medium-sized enterprises, educational institutions and government agencies were invited to give their input for Aarhus University's new degree programmes within animal science, and plant and food sciences at the new AU Viborg campus.

Lars Visbech Sørensen, CEO of Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, Denmark's national cluster for organisations within the food and bio-resources sector, joined the dialogue with focus on the new degree programme in plant and food sciences.

"At the workshop, we were told about how the degree programme will incorporate the entire value chain in a way that nicely addresses the challenges and potentials we’re facing in relation to food and plant production. The idea of shifting focus from a single raw material to the whole ecosystem is precisely what I think we need right now," he says.

SEGES Innovation, which carries out research and innovation tasks within agriculture and food sciences also agreed to take part in the workshop. Kent Myllerup, a head of department at SEGES Innovation, participated in the dialogue with focus on the new animal science programme.

"SEGES is a major employer of graduates from the degree programmes being consolidated at AU Viborg, and that's why it was exciting for me to be invited to learn more about how the new degree programmes will be designed. I’m interested in seeing how we can get students to choose agriculture as a career, and in this context I think it’s important to make a link to the industry at an early stage, while still maintaining a high academic level," he stresses.

New study programmes at international research centre

As we know, the two new study programmes will be welcoming their first students at AU Viborg, which is an internationally recognised research centre. The opportunities and limitations of having the Foulum research centre as a base were also discussed at the tables at the workshop.

"Creating an educational institution at a research institution offers some fantastic opportunities for students to get close to research. On the other hand, there is no existing study environment to lean on for the first couple of years, but as far as I can see, it is something that has been given some good thoughts and a lot of attention," says Lars Villemoes, who is a head of department at Business Academy Aarhus.

The good input from the participants at the workshop will now be included in further work to develop the new degree programmes at AU Viborg.

Facts about the two new degree programmes

The new programme in animal science focuses on healthy animals, including animal welfare and animal physiology, the performance of living animals and sustainable animal production. Students can specialise in production animals, pets, domestic animals such as dogs and horses, laboratory animals, therapy animals or animals in the wild.

The programme in plant and food sciences is a degree programme in plant biology, plant-based foods, as well as bio-based by-products for sustainable bio-refining and energy production. Minimising waste, resource consumption and environmental impacts in agriculture are also central topics in the degree programme.

Both programmes are project-based and integrated into the research centre, which is why fieldwork and laboratory work will be a large part of life at university for future students.