2019 university elections: New board representative for non-academic staff flies drones and plans field trials

Updates from Omnibus

Follow Omnibus on Facebook and Twitter (@OmnibusAU)  

You can also subscribe to our newsletter - once a week we pick the most important news from omnibus.au.dk and serve them to you in your inbox





As a result of an uncontested election, Buildings Manager Uffe Pilegård Larsen from the Department of Agroecology in Flakkebjerg is the new board representative for technical and administrative employees at AU.

2019.11.22 | Marie Groth Andersen

Buildings Manager Uffe Pilegård Larsen from the Department of Agroecology in Flakkebjerg is the new board representative for technical and administrative employees at AU. Photo: Jonas Ahlstrøm

Five things you probably don’t know about Uffe Pilegård Larsen

  1. The last time I really blew my top was when: ... some of my colleagues worked overtime, and their right to take a break was questioned. My colleagues work hard, and I didn’t think it was right to question their integrity.
  2. Almost no one knows that I: ... fundamentally don’t like getting up in front of a big audience and making a speech.
  3. I can't imagine anything better than when I:  ... am with my one-year-old grandchild. I’m fortunate to live in a houseshare with him and his parents. I live in the attic of our farm, and they live on the ground floor.
  4. My favorite app is: ... The Norwegian weather app yr.no. In my job, it’s pretty important to be able to see both how the weather’s going to be and how it’s been – in relation to temperature and precipitation, among other things. The Norwegian app can zoom in on a single area and is more accurate than its Danish counterpart.
  5. My favorite place at AU: Where i work in Flakkebjerg, we have a corridor with a glass roof with 12-meter high bamboo which is really pleasant to walk through. When the decision to build it was made I, thought it was an extravagance – and I couldn’t help thinking about all the machines that money could have bought. But to create a space where you can find some peace is important, especially in a research environment – I can see that now.

Uffe Pilegård Larsen spends his working days planning experiments to be carried out in the Department of Agroecology’s 200 hectares of fields in Flakkebjerg. He’s also responsible for making sure that the drones the department uses in its daily operations as well as research projects are compliant with the law.

And now he’ll be looking the university from the perspective of a drone himself – at least figuratively – when he takes his seat on the board as the newly elected representative for technical and administrative employees (TAPs).

“A board has to make decisions on a well-informed basis. As a TAP representative, I may have some different angles on what’s good for the university, and can help broaden the perspective. And that’s important, because at this level decisions are made that will have consequences for the employees,” Larsen says.

Researchers shouldn’t spend time on routine tasks

Not surprisingly, one of the perspectives he’s interested in contributing is the role played by TAPs at the university.

“Both white-collar and blue-collar TAPs are important to AU’s ability to maintain an international level. Obviously, you should have as many researchers as possible employed at a university. But it’s also important to be very careful not to cut back too much on TAP staff, because researchers shouldn’t spend their time on routine tasks,” he says.

A hard choice 

Larsen has been a union representative since 1987, when he worked at the former Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences (DJF), which became part of Aarhus University in 2007. Today, he is a union representative for employees organised under the Danish Union of Public Servants and joint union representative for employees organised under the agricultural technologists’ union. But as a member of the board, he has to give up some of these positions of trust. Because he can’t sit on the board and take part in decisions – for example, about cutbacks – and still sit on the university liaison committee.

“This is something we’ve discussed in the TAP club (a group that coordinates the work of union reps from the unions typically representing TAPs, ed.), and as a consequence I’ve decided to give up my positions at Main Liaison Committee level. But I can keep my positions at and below faculty liaison committee level.” 

The world outside 8000 C

As a union representative, Larsen has been making the trip between Flakkebjerg (outside Slagelse) and Aarhus a few times a month. And although he emphasizes that his job isn’t to speak for Flakkebjerg, he does want to bring relevant perspectives from the university outside the main campus at 8000 Aarhus C into the boardroom. 

“There are some people whose mindset is: ‘Get all this university bureaucracy stuff off our backs, and let us work in peace’. But in generally, I think we’ve made it work satisfactorily, having the university spread out over several geographical locations. It’s not perfect, and people will probably always feel a bit disconnected when they’re not located close to the decisionmakers. But I believe they made the right decision back then when they decided to merge us.”

Larsen will be replacing Anna Louise Plaskett, team leader at the Faculty of Arts graduate school.

Translated by Lenore Messick

Five things you probably don’t know about Uffe Pilegård Larsen

  1. The last time I really blew my top was when: ... some of my colleagues worked overtime, and their right to take a break was questioned. My colleagues work hard, and I didn’t think it was right to question their integrity.
  2. Almost no one knows that I: ... fundamentally don’t like getting up in front of a big audience and making a speech.
  3. I can't imagine anything better than when I:  ... am with my one-year-old grandchild. I’m fortunate to live in a houseshare with him and his parents. I live in the attic of our farm, and they live on the ground floor.
  4. My favorite app is: ... The Norwegian weather app yr.no. In my job, it’s pretty important to be able to see both how the weather’s going to be and how it’s been – in relation to temperature and precipitation, among other things. The Norwegian app can zoom in on a single area and is more accurate than its Danish counterpart.
  5. My favorite place at AU: Where i work in Flakkebjerg, we have a corridor with a glass roof with 12-meter high bamboo which is really pleasant to walk through. When the decision to build it was made I, thought it was an extravagance – and I couldn’t help thinking about all the machines that money could have bought. But to create a space where you can find some peace is important, especially in a research environment – I can see that now.
Article, Omnibus, Omnibus, Omnibus, Omnibus

Read more