Head of the Department of Chemistry

Chemistry, Dept. of

Aarhus University is seeking a Head of the Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry at Aarhus University (AU) is a leading institute in its field with a strong tradition for excellence in research and teaching. We are looking for an acclaimed academic and a visionary and engaged leader as the new head of the department. A Head who can continue to develop the department, thereby ensuring a strong focus on high quality and coherence in research, teaching, career development and innovation. We see chemistry as a central science and key to shaping the future of society. The department is characterized by an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching as well as a collaborative workplace culture.  

The department has 35 permanently employed scientific staff members, as well as strong administrative and technical support teams including local workshops. Research at the department is at the highest level and benefits from world-leading infrastructure in several areas of chemistry. The department offers a PhD program as well as educational BSc and MSc programs in Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry and contributes to teaching in several other programmes.

Your responsibilities

You will be the AU-internal and external representative of the department, and under the authority of the AU rector and the dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, you will be in charge of academic, financial and personnel-related matters, including the planning and allocation of job responsibilities.

You will be responsible for, in an inclusive manner, drawing up strategy and action plans for research and education at the department, with a particular focus on active contributions to interdisciplinary research across traditional academic boundaries, both within the department and with the other departments and centres at the faculty and beyond.

You will implement the visions of the department in contributing to shape the university of the future through further development of the department's profile as an attractive and inspirational research, work, and study environment. In doing so, you will help attract the best employees, PhD students, students, and collaborators from Denmark and abroad. These tasks will be handled in constructive collaboration with the various committees of the department.

You will maintain a focus on strategic management, financial responsibility, and good HR management. For this, you will be supported by a professional and specialized administrative support function at both department and faculty levels.

You will refer to the dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and you will be a member of the faculty management board. The faculty management board has the overall responsibility of the Faculty of Natural Sciences’ departments and centres and you are expected to contribute to and take joint responsibility for the overall development of the faculty, and for securing the faculty in achieving its goals and being managed as a coherent and well-functioning organization.

You are expected to be able to read and understand Danish within two years.


Your leadership style and personality

  • You are a motivational and unifying leader who understands how to manage a complex organisation with many stakeholders.
  • You have the authority to secure organisational cohesion between academic environments.
  • You are visionary and strategic, with an eye for the future needs of our society regarding research and education.
  • You can generate synergy and are a strong bridge-builder across disciplines and in close collaboration with the outside world.
  • You have personal authority and integrity.
  • You are skilled at creating a good collaborative environment and strengthening collaboration across the organisation, which you will use both within the department and towards other relevant departments as well as within the faculty management board.
  • You communicate clearly and credibly (in both Danish and English) with respect for others and with propriety.
  • You are a loyal management colleague and team player, and you are aware of your responsibilities and authority.
  • You value a healthy physical and psychological working environment and know how to work to secure these.
  • You have a focus on competency development among the personnel.


Your experience and academic competencies

  • You have solid experience within the university sector and academic environments.
  • You have several years of management experience, and you have a genuine interest in personnel management of scientific, technical, and administrative staff.
  • You are an internationally recognised researcher within chemistry in its broadest sense.
  • You have a profound interest and experience in teaching and education.
  • You have shown strategic management skills, e.g. via fundraising and recruitment.
  • You have insight into national and international trends in the research areas of the department.
  • AU has an active focus on gender diversity, equity and inclusion, and applicants are expected to have an interest in working with this part of the culture and to have constructive suggestions for how to attract, include and develop talents from underrepresented groups.


The Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry at Aarhus University is a leading European chemistry department with a broad research portfolio. It has a permanent staff of approximately 35 full, associate, and assistant professors, a support-staff of approximately 35 technical and administrative staff, approximately 100 PhD-students and approximately 50 postdocs and around 300 students.
In addition to excellence in research, teaching and supervision, the Department of Chemistry values equal opportunities, a collegial atmosphere, and a student-friendly mindset.
The department has a high degree of external funding. Over the years, the department has hosted several larger research grants and centers, incl. Centers of Excellence, Villum Investigators and ERC Consolidators.
Currently, the department is undergoing a generational shift. In the years to come, we aim to recruit more young research talents.


Faculty of Natural Sciences

Aarhus University is recognized as one of the best universities in the world, and the Faculty of Natural Sciences has several internationally leading research environments. The ambition is to enhance the faculty´s position of strength as well as to develop new ones – in interaction with the outside world and across disciplines. The faculty´s primary activities cover research, education and business collaboration within the fields of biology, physics, chemistry, geology, mathematics, computer science, molecular biology and nanoscience.

The Faculty of Natural Sciences has strong and international basic research environments that address major societal challenges. There is also a proud tradition of communicating scientific contexts and insights to policymakers and the general public. The faculty comprises seven departments, a department-like center, a graduate school, and several research centers. There is also a number of interdisciplinary centers and initiatives across Aarhus University. The Faculty of Natural Sciences is one of five faculties at Aarhus University and has approx. 3,300 students and 1,400 employees. Learn more at www.nat.au.dk


Appointment procedure

If you have any questions regarding the position, you are welcome to contact: Kristine Kilså, Vice Dean of Education of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, at email: kkj@au.dk or mobile: + 9352 1238 or consultant Lone Vestergaard from Curia at e-mail lv@curia.dk or mobile: + 45 20941653.

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.

The recruitment takes place in collaboration with Curia. Interviews are planned for week 36 (first interview) and possibly in week 39 (second interview).
Applicants invited for a second interview will be expected to participate in a leadership profile test after the first interview.

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 set up to advise on which candidates should be invited to an interview. The advisory committee consists of academic staff, technical/administrative staff and students.

Application deadline: 8 August 2024
Expected start date: 1 November 2024

Formalities and salary range

Employment is on terms under the 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 ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster 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 backgrounds. 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.

Aarhus University

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Deadline: 2024-08-08
Location: Denmark, AARHUS
Categories: Chemistry, Head of Department,


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