In April Aarhus University hosted the international Excellence 2012 conference
in conjunction with the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2012.
Below is an extract from the conclusions from the debates and presentations at Excellence 2012
Collaboration and trust were two of the main concepts cited as important by Jacob Bundsgaard, the Mayor of Aarhus, Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature, and Flemming Besenbacher, Chairman of the Board of the Carlsberg Foundation, when they presented their ideas on excellence in research.
Dr Vilhelm Krull, Secretary General of the Volkswagen Foundation, and Alex Klinge, Head of Department at Copenhagen Business School, sounded optimistic notes. Their conclusions were clear: it would be excellent research that secured the future of Europe.
The economic crisis in Europe provided the starting point for the approach to excellent research taken by the two politicians among the speakers, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. Their message was that investment in excellent research is important as a way out of the crisis.
Morten Østergaard, the Danish Minister of Science, Innovation and Higher Education, promised researchers more basic funding and more trust. He will now take the Aarhus Declaration forward to the negotiations for Horizon 2020.
While the many speakers from Denmark and abroad were debating what excellent research involves, Jens Hage put their words into pictures at the Excellence 2012 conference.
Download The Aarhus Declaration and follow the declaration's future in European research politics
The Aarhus Declaration is the outcome of three days of discussion at the Excellence Conference among the key players in European research financing. It contains specific recommendations concerning European research environments on how in the future we should ensure the provision of optimal conditions for promoting research of the highest quality.
Rector at Aarhus University and President of Euroscience, Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen argues in a commentary that Horizon 2020 should allow for a more flexible funding system in order to reach excellence in research
"Excellence should leave a trail of death behind it. An excellent theory wipes competing explanations out"
- Rane Willerslev, professor at Aarhus Universitet and Director of Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo
See videointerviews with several keynote speakers or download presentations from the conference
The Danish Minister of Education, Morten Østergaard, president of the European Research Council, Helga Nowotny and rector of Aarhus University, Lauritz Holm-Nielsen express their optimism for the impact of the declaration and the future of European research on the final day of the conference.
"We have suffcient quantity but not enogh quality in European research." The European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, talks about the Horizon 2020 Programme and how it will improve the conditions of excellent science in Europe.