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Aarhus University is seeking a Head of Department for the Department of Food Science (AU Food), at the Faculty of Technical Sciences

Aarhus University (AU) is a research-intensive nationwide university with high national and international impact within research, educational and talent programmes, and research based policy advice of high academic quality. Aarhus University has an ongoing and valuable collaboration with the business and research communities, the public sector, and internally between academic staff across geographical locations.

Faculty of Technical Sciences

Through education, research and collaboration with the surrounding society, the Faculty of Technical Sciences aspires to contribute to the global green transition and to solving major societal challenges through technological developments and innovation.

The faculty focus on close collaboration with the business community and the public sector, and thereby have impact on the future of our global development and sustainability. Their primary activities are research, teaching, and research-based policy advice within the fields of engineering, agroecology, horticulture, food, animal science, biology, nature and the environment. The faculty has 10 research departments, a research center and 2 Secretariates primarily aligned to delivering policy advice. The faculty has approx. 1,400 employees, 4,100 students and total annual turnover of EUR 270 million.

Department of Food Science

Research, research-based teaching and research-based policy advice activities at the Department of Food Science include the entire food system, from horticultural food production to final product, including sensory and consumer science, as well as the health-related aspects of foods and food components. With a focus on ensuring that teaching and research activities benefit both industry and society, most of the research at the department is multidisciplinary and conducted in collaboration with industrial and research partners in a national and international context.

With extensive expertise and resources, as well as national and international networks, the Department of Food Science is a significant contributor to solutions for
global food-related sustainability and health challenges. The department takes on a food systems approach to provide society with tasty, sustainable, healthy and functional foods. This includes, but is not limited to, research on food ingredients and quality, food and packaging, food waste, primary plant food production under changing climate conditions, and also seeking solutions to the increasing frequency of lifestyle diseases.

The Department of Food Science is organized into the following science teams; Plant, Food & Sustainability; Food & Climate; Food Chemistry; Food Technology; Differentiated & Biofunctional Foods; Food Quality Perception & Society.

The Department of Food Science is involved in two Bachelor’s degree programmes, two Master’s degree programmes, and a PhD programme. Moreover, the Department of Food Science is involved in several collaborative and international teaching programs.

The Department of Food Science has on average 75 PhD students and postdocs, 35 technical/administrative staff and 30 academic staff. The department is based at Agro Food Park, in Aarhus and has a field-based research station at Auning. Your primary
workplace will be in Aarhus. Read more about the department here

An exiting area of responsobility

You will be the leading and external face of the department, and under the authority of the Dean of Technical Sciences, you will be in charge of academic, financial and personnel-related matters, including planning and recruitment.

You will lead and contribute to creating an inspiring and highly motivated working environment where employees can deliver high-quality, innovative and impactful
research, teaching and policy advice.

You will be responsible for preparing and communicating strategic plans and action plans for research at the department, with a particular focus on the department contributing actively to interdisciplinary research both nationally and internationally.

As Head of Department, you will ensure that the department provides competencies in research-based policy advice for public authorities and industry, and takes responsibility for public sector policy advice, complying with the ISO 9001 accredited AU quality management system, in partnership with the AU Danish Centre for Agriculture (DCA).

Your visions will support the university of the future through the further development of the department's profile as an attractive, inspirational and sustainable research, work and study environment. As a result, you will attract, recruit and retain high-quality professionals and eager students and partners from Denmark and internationally.

You should be able to maintain focus on strategic leadership, financial responsibility and good HR management, and you will be partners and supported by a professional and specialized administrative staff who are part of the Faculty of Technical Sciences Administrative Centre. The department's secretariat supports both the science teams and the department leadership team.

You will refer to the Dean and you will be part of the Technical Sciences Faculty Leadership Team.

Apart from you, the department leadership team currently consists of six science team leaders, the department's head of secretariat and an economy partner from the Administrative Centre. The department leadership team works closely together on the day- to-day, including financial and strategic leadership of the department.

Your leadership style and personality

To be successful in the role:

  • You are a motivational, visionary and unifying leader who understands how to lead a complex organization with many stakeholders, who are focused on delivering impact for society within the food area.
  • You possess the leadership authority to facilitate organizational unity among team members across the academic environments.
  • You are able to run a economically responsible department in collaboration with the Department leadership team and the researchers.
  • You are innovative and strategic, with an eye for the future needs of industry and society for research, policy advice, and education.
  • You generate synergy and you are a solid bridge-builder across disciplines and in close collaboration with the outside world, including the political system.
  • You have personal authority and integrity.
  • You are skilled at creating a good collaborative environment in the department and a strengthening collaboration across the faculty.
  • You communicate clearly and credibly with respect for others.
  • Your role as an engaged and cooperative leader, is well recognized, and you are aligned with your personal responsibilities and authority.

Your experience and academic competences

  • You have solid experience in research and public sector policy advice – within significant parts of the department's academic disciplines, and preferably within the university sector and academic environments.
  • You have several years of leadership experience.
  • You have abilities to communicate internally and externally with stakeholders.
  • You have a significant national and international network within the department’s disciplines of research, including the food industry.
  • The working language at the department is primarily English, however as Head of Department it is preferable that you read and understand Danish well.
  • You are an active listener, inclusive, reflective and open to cultural differences
  • You have insight into national and international trends in the subject areas at the department.

What we can offer you towards your career development

  • To enter fields of work that are highly topical and of great value to society
  • An exciting interdisciplinary environment with many national, international partners among universities, authorities, companies and organizations etc.
  • A group of professionally motivated and committed employees
  • A work environment with networking activities and social activities
  • A working environment that invites lively, open and critical discussion a workplace influenced by professionalism, equality and a healthy work-life balance
  • AU has an ongoing focus on gender equality, diversity, equity and inclusion, and it also expects you to actively work with this part of the culture, and to attract and develop talents from underrepresented groups.

Place of work and area of employment

The place of work is the Department of Food Science, Agro Food Park 48, 8200 Aarhus N, and the area of employment is Aarhus University with affiliated institutions.

Appointment procedure

If you have questions regarding the position, you are welcome to contact Dean Eskild Holm Nielsen on tel. + 45 21 22 95 11 or by email to Denne e-mail adresse bliver beskyttet mod spambots. Du skal have JavaScript aktiveret for at vise den. or Chief Consultant at Curia on tel. + 45 2094 1653 or by email Denne e-mail adresse bliver beskyttet mod spambots. Du skal have JavaScript aktiveret for at vise den..

You are welcome to send your thoughts and ideas regarding the department's development over the next few years in your application, along with your CV and a list of your publications.

Interviews are planned for week 36 (1st interview) and possibly in week 37 or 38 (2nd interview). Applicants invited for a second interview will be expected to participate in a leadership profile test after the first interview. Eksternal consultant will participate.

According to the University Act and the university's by-laws, the employment procedure must ensure that the head of department has academic and managerial legitimacy. Therefore, an advisory committee has been appointed to advise the dean on this basis about which candidates should be invited to attend an interview. The advisory committee consists of academic staff, technical/administrative staff and students.

Application deadline: 15 August 2024
Expected start date: 1 November 2024 or as soon as possible hereafter
Formalities and salary range

Employment is on terms under collective agreements and subject to the collective bargaining agreement for academics employed by the state concluded between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC), including the circular on heads of department and deans at the universities.

The employment is a fixed-term appointment in accordance with the principles in the circular on limited tenure in the Danish state. The tenure is for three to six years, most likely six years, and with the option of extension for up to a further three years. An agreement on a scientific fallback employment option is possible.

Aarhus University’s vision is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to promote a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and all interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Aarhus University is a signatory of the Danish government’s charter regarding the appointment of more women in management. Both women and men are encouraged to apply. No one will have priority, and all applicants will be assessed in accordance with the requirement profile for the position.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

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