To the point – calmly and tolerantly

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The first dean of the new Faculty of Technical Sciences will be a man named Eskild Holm Nielsen. He comes to AU from a position as innovation manager at Aalborg University Hospital.

2019.12.05 | Marie Groth Andersen

Eskild Holm Nielsen is the first dean of the new Faculty of Technical Sciences. He will take up his new position on 1 January 2020.

Eskild Holm Nielsen

  • Age 57, MSc, PhD in Engineering 
  • Comes to AU from a position as innovation manager at Aalborg University Hospital and head of the Idea Clinic. Previously served as dean of the Technical Faculty for IT and Design at Aalborg University for seven years. Has also worked in environmental planning and assessment.
  • Father of two children, ages 22 and 25; lives in Aalborg.
  • Enjoys walking and biking in his free time, and has been a member of a wine club for 25 years.
  • Will take up his new position on 1 January 2020.

Eskild Holm Nielsen usually checks the DMI weather app in the morning to decide whether or not to bike to work. He’ll probably have to give up that ritual next year – or be prepared for a very long bike ride to work in Aarhus from his home in Aalborg. Because 1 January 2020 will be his first day on his new job as dean of the Faculty of Technical Sciences.

The new faculty will be born the very same day, when AU’s largest Faculty, Science and Technology, splits in two: the Faculty of Technical Sciences and the Faculty of Natural Sciences.  

READ MORE: ST split into two independent faculties – Business as usual. Almost.

Former dean at Aalborg University

Eskild Holm Nielsen is an engineer by training, and his most recent position was head of innovation at Aalborg University Hospital, where, as head of the Idea Clinic, he worked with innovation and entrepreneurship. For example, he helped establish the Health Hub, an initiative to help students, entrepreneurs and clinicians at hospitals in Northern Jutland turn their ideas into new businesses. 

But this is not his first stint as dean. He served as dean of the Technical Faculty for IT and Design at Aalborg University for seven years.  Now he’s stepping up to head the new faculty at AU, where he’ll have a chance to shape from its very inception.  

“It’ll be exciting to help set the course for a new faculty. I hope that the ‘span of control’ will be less at a smaller faculty, so that the employees will feel that management is more accessible,” Nielsen says. 

He doesn’t expect that the split will lead to major changes for the employees.

“The faculty will be split up, but it’s being done out of consideration for what’s best for the different disciplines, so the academic units won’t be split up. This means that the individual employees probably won’t be much affected by it, because they’ll still be part of the same department as before,” he explains. 

To the point– in a calm, tolerant way

Five fun facts about Eskild Holm Nielsen

  1. My favorite apps are:...DMI’s weather app, LinkedIn and Vivino. The weather report is interesting for me in relation to whether or not I’m going to bike to work. LinkedIn is relevant to me professionally, and wine is my passion. I’ve been in a wine club for 25 years – life is too short for bad wine.
  2. Very few people know that I:...used to work as a long-haul truck driver while I was a student. I had routes to Paris and other places in France.
  3. I’m in my happy place when I:...am on Fanø. That’s my favorite vacation spot. I’ve been visiting the island for over 30 years, and I enjoy the peace, the countryside and experiencing the weather and the sea. And I also like being with people who are good at their jobs, for example at a strategy seminar where we create something new together.
  4. The last time I really blew my top was when:...I was put on hold for 40 minutes when I called in to make a change in a subscription. It wasn’t possible to change it by mail.
  5. How I’ll be celebrating Christmas this year: We’re hosting it this year, and my mother, my sister, my niece and brother-in-law and our two daughters are coming. We’ll be serving both duck and goose – a duck in the oven and a goose on the grill.

How will we be able to tell it’s you at the head of the table at the new faculty?

“Well, it’s always hard to answer a question like that yourself. But I do have a management style that’s to the point. I want to deal with problems before they get out of hand. A good atmosphere is also important to me, and that it’s possible to talk about things in a calm, tolerant way – and preferably with humor.”

Sustainability in focus

The new faculty will bring together engineering, agroecology, food science, animal science, environmental science and biology.

“It’s an exciting combination of subjects that I expect will play a central role in relation to finding new sustainable solutions,” Nielsen says. 

Another important focus, according to the new dean, will be on ensuring that the university can meet society’s enormous demand for engineers and science graduates.

The best of two worlds 

Several of the departments at the new faculty have their roots in governmental research institutions, which Nielsen finds interesting.

“From an outsider’s perspective, it’s the best of two worlds that have been mixed together in the departments and the two centers, DCA and DCE, in a way that means they haven’t lost their relevance in relation to the issues that ministries and companies face. It’s also an advantage that we have the ability to combine different disciplines and draw on the disciplines at other departments.” 

Beef and controversy

Nielsen is coming on board at a moment when Science and Technology, particularly the Department of Agroecology and DCA (the Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture), have been in the media’s spotlight for months because of the case that began with the controversial beef report and has since broadened to reveal mistakes and irregularities in a number other reports published by DCA. 

He emphasises that while he’s familiar with the case from the press, he isn’t familiar with all the details.

“I choose to look forward, and at this point I can’t discuss whether or not there were irregularities. But I know that the departments and centres are working hard on research quality assurance so that we won’t be seeing more cases like this in the future,” he says, and adds:

“But in this regard, what’s most important to me is that both research and criticism in the media are based on an objective, well-documented foundation.” 

The other new dean position has been re-advertized 

The position as dean of the other new faculty at AU, the Faculty of Natural Sciences, has been re-advertized. The application deadline is 9 December, and the new dean is expected to start on 1 March 2020.

Eskild Holm Nielsen

  • Age 57, MSc, PhD in Engineering 
  • Comes to AU from a position as innovation manager at Aalborg University Hospital and head of the Idea Clinic. Previously served as dean of the Technical Faculty for IT and Design at Aalborg University for seven years. Has also worked in environmental planning and assessment.
  • Father of two children, ages 22 and 25; lives in Aalborg.
  • Enjoys walking and biking in his free time, and has been a member of a wine club for 25 years.
  • Will take up his new position on 1 January 2020.

Five fun facts about Eskild Holm Nielsen

  1. My favorite apps are:...DMI’s weather app, LinkedIn and Vivino. The weather report is interesting for me in relation to whether or not I’m going to bike to work. LinkedIn is relevant to me professionally, and wine is my passion. I’ve been in a wine club for 25 years – life is too short for bad wine.
  2. Very few people know that I:...used to work as a long-haul truck driver while I was a student. I had routes to Paris and other places in France.
  3. I’m in my happy place when I:...am on Fanø. That’s my favorite vacation spot. I’ve been visiting the island for over 30 years, and I enjoy the peace, the countryside and experiencing the weather and the sea. And I also like being with people who are good at their jobs, for example at a strategy seminar where we create something new together.
  4. The last time I really blew my top was when:...I was put on hold for 40 minutes when I called in to make a change in a subscription. It wasn’t possible to change it by mail.
  5. How I’ll be celebrating Christmas this year: We’re hosting it this year, and my mother, my sister, my niece and brother-in-law and our two daughters are coming. We’ll be serving both duck and goose – a duck in the oven and a goose on the grill.
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