Strong reactions against university merger plans

14.09.2006
Helge Sander‘s plans of university mergers are facing oppositions among Danish research environments. "We have nothing to gain by merging with Copenhagen University, and neither has Danish pedagogical research, says rector of the Danish University of Education Lars-Henrik Schmidt. He threatens to leave should the merger be finalised.
Stronger research environments
Denmark‘s Minister of science Helge Sander has stirred up several of the parties affected by the university merger plans. Sander says: "If we are to compete internationally we have to concentrate our efforts and make stronger research environments." Sander‘s objective is to make Denmark the world‘s leading nation in research.

"We are stronger alone, not least because the IT sector represents 30 percent of the Danish production and we are far from good enough in IT research," says rector of the IT University Mads Tofte, who points out that Sander himself decided to establish the university in 2003.

"No academic reasons"
"Mergers are frustrating and expensive and the competitiveness of our research - that the Government speaks for - will not improve. But I have no hope of the Danish University of Education remaining independent," Schmidt says. He adds that he does not see any academic reasons for merging the universitites.

This also applies to director Gert Bechlund of the Copenhagen Business School: "Our minister refers to a several years old OECD document that does not state a clear need for mergers in the Danish university sector," Bechlund says to journal Forskerforum, and he stresses that the process will be expensive without the Government allocating extra funding.

The opposition reacts
The opposition of the Danish parliament Folketinget also reacts to the merger plans, that were partly made while the Folketinget was on summer holiday. "The proposition has not been subject to parliamentary debate," Morten Homann of the Socialist left points out.

The merger plans are expected to be ready by 15th September. NordForsk will be back with more.

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