My visit to Aarhus University was a continuation of the launched discussions between the representatives of the Russian State Hydrometeorological University (RSHU) and Aarhus University during the First University of Arctic Forum and an official visit of the Danish delegation to RSHU in September 2016.

In terms of the international education policy and activities, I had a rather interesting meeting with Rikke Nielsen, International Director, where we discussed current opportunities and challenges, which our Universities are facing, while developing and implementing the internationalization strategies, as well as similarities and divergences in the two approaches.  In addition, it was interesting to learn about the AU policy aimed at satisfying the demands of labor market in particular specialists.

As for the specific international education activities, I was very excited to learn about the annual AU Summer University and about the tremendous amount of work that stands behind its organization. It was particularly interesting for me to learn about the process of the Summer University promotion and making national and international student population being aware of it, as well as about the selection process of prospective students and lecturers, and ways for promoting their courses and lectures. In addition, during the meeting with Vibeke Moll, relocation officer, I was introduced to the University policy of supporting and assisting international researchers, who are coming to work and do research at the University. One of the target groups of the University assisting policy is the international scholars, who come to work at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS). The important goal of AIAS is to advance the highest quality research at Aarhus University by attracting talented, highly qualified researchers worldwide and within all disciplines that makes the program and the Institute quite unique. The fellows are given opportunities for pursuing their research interests in a multidisciplinary and international environment for a period up to 36 months, and they are completely free from other obligations.  I view participation in the AIAS as a valuable experience for the researchers at RSHU and, therefore, as a perfect base for establishing contacts and cooperation between AU and RSHU in the field of research and science.

Another area of the AU supporting policy is implemented through its Research Support Office. During the meeting with Anya Bjørn Vinstrup, Research Support Officer Special consultant, and Jakob Dragsdal Sørensen, chief advisor, I was introduced to different services that are provided to young and senior researchers in order to assist them with grant application process or fundraising. It was rather useful for me to learn about the organized special workshops and trainings for researchers, as well as about the existing funding database. I hope to introduce some of the services at my home University in the midterm perspective.

As a young polar scientist, I was really excited to learn about the interdisciplinary research of the Aarhus University Arctic Research Centre. During my presentation on “Russian – Danish relations in the Arctic region”, the question on the role of science in contributing to enhancing cooperation among the states has been raised. In line with that, there was a discussion concerning the role of Universities in this process, in particular, concerning the possible areas of cooperation between AU and RSHU in relation to the Arctic research.

I was also introduced to the Aarhus city and the AU history during my visit to the Royal Danish Library. Jesper Boserup Thestrup gave me a fantastic guided tour around the Library and told me about transformations in its policy that have occurred within the last several years, and how these changes coincide with the students’ interests and needs. 

I would like to express my deep gratitude to Lotte Skovborg , International coordinator, and Cécile Pelaudeix, Associate professor, for organizing such a comprehensive visit to Aarhus University and Arctic Research Centre.

Kind regards,
Nadezda N. Filimonova
Assistant to the Vice-rector for development North2North coordinator Russian State Hydrometeorological University