Aarhus University Seal

Research-based public sector consultancy at Technical Sciences

Denmark has a long tradition of supporting public authorities and policy-making with research and specialist knowledge. This strategic research was previously provided by government research institutions, but in 2007, large parts of government research were integrated into the universities.

The purpose of integrating government research into the universities was to make use of strategic government research in higher education, and to ensure continued qualified public-sector consultancy, by anchoring it in university research and thereby helping Denmark compete in a globalised world. At AU-Tech, the term "science-based advice" refers to the research-based consultancy-term used elsewhere. 

Research secures quality

Research-based public sector consultancy includes both the science-based advice itself and the research that the consultancy is based on. As a general rule, all core activities at a university are research-based, and to provide qualified public authority consultancy services, the university must have scientific competence in the area and be able to meet the authorities' expectations regarding relevance, form and timeliness. In other words, research establishes the necessary foundation for highly qualified science-based advice.

All public research and science-based advice, etc. must be freely accessible, and universities have both a right and an obligation to publish the results. Freedom of expression and freedom of research are basic principles for researchers, and these are safeguarded by the universities, including in connection with the performance of science-based advice.

Respect and understanding between parties

There must be clear segregation between research-related assessment and advice and the subsequent policy-making process and management of the administrative task, the latter being the responsibility of politicians, government agencies and institutions. Mutual recognition of each other’s reality is required to ensure that this "arm's length principle" does not stand in the way of a well-functioning collaboration on science-baed advice.

  • Respect and understanding for the Folketing’s (parliament’s), the government's and civil servants’ needs for fast, accurate, high-quality input concerning often very complex and complicated issues and the need for continuity in relation to important social research themes and previous advice in the area.
  • Respect and understanding for the university's and the individual researcher's goal of academic excellence, publication and high academic integrity.

Broad expertise at Technical Sciences

Science-based advice and monitoring at Technical Sciences covers a broad spectrum of services, with contributions from a large number of academic environments. These are short-term or medium-term consultancy tasks (acute ad hoc tasks, specialist input in connection with preparation of legislation, as well as various reports and evaluations).

Tasks also include long-term or more permanent routine advisory services, including monitoring, data and analysis tasks, determination of fertilizer standards, environmental status assessments, risk assessments, analysis and development tasks, participation in committees, expert groups and international work, etc.

Cooperation with many ministries

Technical Sciences advises the Ministry of Environment of Denmark and the Ministry og Food, Agriculture and Fisheries of Denmark through a framework agreement, which includes six main academic areas. Researchers and consultants from a large number of academic environments throughout Aarhus University contribute in order to provide the Ministry of Environment and Food with the best possible advice. This means that we can provide answers to complex, multidisciplinary issues, and we can supply highly specialised knowledge within very narrow fields.

Furthermore,  Technical Sciences works for the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy, and Utilities and the Environmental Agency for Mineral Resource Activities in Greenland.

Cooperation with the ministries is coordinated through Technical Sciences' two national centres the DCA - Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture and the DCE -Danish Centre for Environment and Energy.