Understanding is a bigger problem than distance
Public sector consultancy. The expert group has asked staff members at AU's various locations around the country whether they experience specific problems from having a geographical location that is separate from the rest of the university.
What answers did you get?
"I can summarise it like this: of course geography means something in relation to how close you are to the middle of Aarhus, but actually that’s not the most important aspect for those who work at other locations. Everyone we talked to clearly said that a lack of understanding of what you do - if you’re doing something other than classical university activities - is a bigger problem."
What examples did they give?
"The standardised administrative solutions which they don’t feel take them into account, and that the administrative structure doesn’t give them enough space for their needs. At the same time, the structure makes it difficult to make the necessary adjustments. So obviously the question of proximity gets a different dimension when it’s also about geography."
Have you looked at the different conditions for ‘classical’ AU researchers and researchers from the former government research institutions?
"We have come across the issue in that some people feel caught up because they have entered a system with a job structure where you must be qualified in a research context – and that can be difficult if your daily life is one of having to deliver research-based public sector consultancy and service. And for people in that situation things aren’t made easier by entering into a system at a time of declining basic funds, and where more and more funding is subject to increased competition."
Translated by Peter Lambourne.