ST to consolidate Aarhus activities on campus and at Katrinebjerg

The framework for Aarhus University's physical development in the years ahead was presented at a mass meeting on 2 May 2018. For ST, this means that, after a long wait, the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics will be consolidated in University City; it means moving from Kalø and Silkeborg and gathering life-science activities in the University Park; and it means that engineers will all be together at Katrinebjerg and in the Science Park.

2018.05.01 | Christina Troelsen

The framework for Aarhus University's physical development in the years ahead was presented at a mass meeting on 2 May 2018. This includes consolidating engineering activities at Katrinebjerg. (Graphics: AART Architects)

ST in the future: a life science cluster across the University Park connects MBG with BIOS and AGRO, a strong technology axis links the engineering activities to natural-sciences subjects at campus, and ind the middle the strongly integrated teaching environment will be extended and function as a hub for study activities. (Illustration: ST Communication).

With the acquisition of the former Municipal Hospital, Aarhus University has been given a unique opportunity to consolidate and strengthen a number of educational and research activities on the university's central campus in Aarhus. Therefore, the university board has adopted a master plan for moving into the new facilities and taking them into use. The plan also means that AU will be leaving other areas both inside and outside of Aarhus. The process will be in several stages over the next 10 years.

For ST, the masterplan offers the opportunity to consolidate geographically many activities that have hitherto been scattered over several sites. This will enhance both the internal synergies within the research environments and the external synergies with related disciplines and with the business community. The first step is a long-desired consolidation of activities in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at University City (the former Municipal Hospital) in 2021. This will make room to move Department of Bioscience activities from Silkeborg and Kalø to the University Park, and to begin work on gathering engineering activities at Katrinebjerg and at the Science Park.

For Dean Niels Christian Nielsen, it is gratifying to be able to launch the master plan and the concrete decisions for ST.

"We’ve been working on the visions for ST's physical development for a long time. In fact, some of the plans have been on the drawing board ever since the mergers in 2011 and 2012, and many have already been realised. For example, this spring we cut the first sod for the Department of Food Science’s new building in Skejby, and we’ve already made great strides with preparations to relocate the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. The master plan paints the big picture of the physical development of the university in the coming years, and it’s clear to see that gathering ST's research and education activities in Aarhus in and around a strong campus environment will make a huge difference, not only internally at ST, but also in interactions with the rest of the university. I’m sure that bringing engineers together near the classical science subjects, and the close proximity between the technical, the computer-science and the humanistic IT environments at Katrinebjerg will help strengthen the unique synergies at AU between engineering and classical science," says Niels Christian Nielsen.

Molecular Biology and Genetics will be the first to move into University City

All activities at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG) will be gathered at one location, rather than the current dispersed locations in Aarhus and Foulum. This means MBG will be the first department to move into University City. The department is scheduled to take over the buildings at the northern end of the hospital area in 2021. The department is already involving local users as part of the preparations for the relocation.

Moving MBG out of the current buildings in the University Park and the Science Park on Gustav Wieds Vej "uncorks" opportunities to reshuffle and consolidate activities. The premises left behind by MBG in Biokæden will be taken over by the Department of Bioscience (BIOS), which can then move its activities from Silkeborg and Kalø to Aarhus. At the same time, a reshuffle at the Faculty of Health (HEALTH) will make room for the Department of Agroecology (AGRO) to move its teaching activities to the University Park.

Locating MBG in University City very close to Danish NeuroScience (DNC) under Aarhus University Hospital (AUH), and the proximity to the Department of Biomedicine, BIOS and AGRO in the University Park will help create the foundation for a strong life science cluster across the University Park. There will be rich opportunities to establish collaboration with the business community, as it is likely that several small businesses will have their offices in University City.  

Engineering activities to move from Navitas to Katrinebjerg and the Science Park

The engineering field is developing rapidly, and with AU’s focus on engineering, the need for more space is constantly growing. At the same time, it is clear that the current premises at Navitas cannot cope with the planned expansion in the years to come.

This is one of the reasons why it has been decided to relocate the engineering activities currently at Navitas, and combine them with engineering activities at Katrinebjerg. Building and mechanical engineers are already experiencing a lack of space at Navitas, so there is an urgent need to do something about the problem. Navitas will be put on the market and it is planned to vacate the premises in 2024-25.

Gathering engineers at Katrinebjerg will strengthen and further develop the area as the AU hub for digitisation, digital design, information studies and engineering, and it will help support the university's digitisation strategy and focus on engineering. The local development plan for Katrinebjerg includes establishing commercial properties, for example within Industry 4.0, as well as housing and green recreational areas.

The sites left vacant by MBG in the Science Park will be taken over by engineering activities within biotechnology and chemical technology, and these will then become more closely linked to the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Gathering the engineers at Katrinebjerg and in the Science Park will establish a strong technology axis close to natural-sciences subjects such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, biology and IT, and it will create opportunities for even stronger academic integration.

Katrinebjerg is only a short distance from AU's food activities at Agro Food Park in Skejby, where, in close dialogue with the business community and the public authorities, the Department of Food Science's new building is being built as part of Denmark's new food cluster, with a strong innovation environment.

Anchoring a strongly integrated teaching environment in the University Park

The extensive teaching facilities and proximity to cafeteria and other study facilities in the buildings in and around Ny Munkegade, which currently house the Department of Mathematics, the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and the Department of Chemistry, mean that the premises already function as a centre for teaching.

Once the rooms currently used as offices can be used for teaching instead, this function will be enhanced and extended, with several mixed learning environments. This will be possible when the Faculty of Arts leaves Kasernen in 2024, and the premises are transferred to ST.

Dialogue meetings at ST and input for the master plan

During the coming months, ST staff will be invited to a series of dialogue meetings at which plans for the physical development of the faculty will be reviewed and there will be an opportunity to ask questions and suggest input for the master plan: e.g. with respect to teaching and study environments, or cooperation with the business community.

All input will be collected and integrated in relation to the overall synergies in work on the physical development of AU. This input will be presented to the board in connection with final approval of the master plan in December 2018.

Furthermore, once the relocation plans have been finalised, and it has been determined who will move into which buildings, floors and rooms, local user-involvement processes will be initiated.


Here you can find out more about the new campus and submit your suggestions. AU has also developed a website devoted to the new campus. The full English version of the website is under way. 

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