SDU's strategy, which the board reviewed on 3 April 2017:
It's about doing something worth doing, for society, with society.
It's about enabling every talent while encouraging the exceptional.
It's about breaking through boundaries and shaping the future.
Implementing the strategy - selected focus areas:
Technology that shapes the future
Retaining production workplaces in Denmark has long been challenged by globalisation, but new opportunities involving robots can strengthen competitiveness in high-wage countries.
Visionary companies, foundations and SDU realised this 20 years ago, and they invested in an academic robot environment at SDU. Today, this environment is world class and has been crucial for establishing the Funen robot cluster, which now involves more than 100 enterprises with more than 2600 employees. Many well-known robot companies, including Universal Robots and MIR, were directly created at SDU.
We continue to provide crucial support of the growth of robot companies through access to the latest knowledge and joint research projects, as well as providing qualified candidates that companies can recruit, which is absolutely essential. SDU also creates several new robot companies every year.
We strive to remain at the forefront of identifying future challenges and opportunities. That is why we invest in targeted, strategic investment, currently in welfare innovation, drones and Open Data.
The best match
Motivated, dedicated students are a prerequisite for high quality in education.
Commitment and focus give talented students opportunities to fully develop and, subsequently, access attractive jobs.
SDU uses tests and interviews to ascertain the applicant's skills and motivation with regard to higher education. In this way, we ensure a better match between students and courses of study instead of using marks alone.
With inspiration from innovative foreign universities over the last 15 years, we have developed alternative acceptance criteria. Starting with health courses of study, we have now adopted test-based admission to all our bachelor programmes.
Thus, SDU is setting new, ground-breaking standards for admission.
Talents in play
Denmark needs to make use of all kinds of talent. Therefore, at SDU, we make a special effort to cultivate and develop talent.
Several of our courses of study have talent programmes for those students who have the skill and the will to make an extra effort. Here, we challenge and develop their talents through a variety of activities and international competitions – from legal procedures to synthetic biology.
But the major challenges of the future require cross-disciplinary solutions. Therefore, we also have talent programmes throughout the entire university.
Here, we break down existing disciplines and teach the students to work with each other and the outside world about to shape the future in a variety of areas, including welfare innovation, design and ageing.
Denmark needs highly educated people who can hold their own in a globalised world.
At SDU all courses of study have an international dimension - a stay abroad or an international programme at the university (Internationalisation at Home). The students obtain intercultural competences, which make them attractive on the labour market and strengthen Denmark’s competitiveness.
We also attract talented researchers and students from all over the world. They enrich the research and courses of study, contribute to an international environment and strengthen our relations abroad.
This is how SDU develops international talent, among those who are innovative and can break down barriers.
Cooperation on health
There are only a few places in the world that combine a university and a university hospital. In a few years this will be a reality in Odense, and this can be attributed to close cooperation between Odense University Hospital (OUH) and SDU for more than 50 years.
In 2022, the new high-tech super hospital New OUH will be physically combined with SDU through a newly built health sciences faculty.
The linkage between one of Denmark's largest hospitals and SDU, which includes all scientific disciplines, will ensure that the research questions will be correct at all times, and that research results can be quickly translated and tested in practice for the benefit of the individual and public health.
The study programmes of the future
One of the major contributions of universities that creates value in society is to educate students and give them the skills that match the needs of the labour market.
At SDU, we want to educate students to hold their own in a changing society, where the requirements for skills and qualifications are changing rapidly. The students will have ever-greater expectations of what a university education can offer them – and we must be able to accommodate this.
That is why we are experimenting with revolutionising our courses of study. We do so by thinking untraditionally and experimenting with, for example pedagogy, didactics, digital technologies, structures and organisations. The goal is to develop each student's full potential.
At SDU, we break down boundaries in order to help shape the future of education.
Campus Life - a good study environment
The physical environment and social relationships are essential for good student life and an inspiring learning environment that can encourage the development of many talented students.
At SDU, we work closely with the students, therefore, to develop the future study environment.
We innovate the layout of our campuses with meeting places close to the students’ academic environment so the social and academic activities can interact and strengthen each other. Reading areas, learning spaces and outdoor areas will provide areas for contemplation as well as social activities.
We call it Campus Life.
People meet and create value
SDU is a meeting place for challenges and solutions, visions and insights, desires and abilities. Here, people with many different goals and experiences meet. Here, students, companies and and researchers can listen, be inspired and innovate together.
At SDU, we want to conceive ideas, develop products and create the companies of the future. It is to take place through challenging discussions and access to knowledge. Through fruitful meetings and value-creating relationships. Our goal is not just to do well, but to do good.
Therefore, SDU provides meeting rooms in entrepreneurial environments such as Cortex Lab and Pakhuset, which is where knowledge and business cross paths. Therefore, we have the supportive organisation, SDU RIO, which helps students, businesses and researchers to find each other.
D-IAS – a flagship for free research
At SDU, we have always cooperated across disciplines in order to create new and ground-breaking research.
Through the Danish Institute for Advanced Study (D-IAS), we now bring together a number of our very best researchers across disciplines to create a research environment that is absolutely world-class elite.
D-IAS includes some of our eminent professors and offers talented young researchers a unique opportunity to develop – in the best professional and physical environment imaginable.
D-IAS will position the SDU internationally, so we will be able to attract even more of the best researchers in areas where we have the potential to create unique research results. Through D-IAS, we will develop future talents, so that they can create research that shapes the future.
SDU in six cities
SDU is the largest research and educational institution in South Denmark. We are present in Odense, Kolding, Esbjerg and Sønderborg, as well as in Slagelse and Copenhagen.
Each campus has its originality and its positions of strength. Together with partners, we develop our potential and create value for the students and for society.
The governance structure in Sønderborg, Kolding, Esbjerg and Slagelse has been strengthened. This means, among other things, that there is a designated campus dean in each city, and an external reference group has been established, in which we, together with the municipalities, local businesses and organisations, identify opportunities and challenges.
The objective is to strengthen the quality, relevance and sustainability of all of the university's activities.