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Clusters to address societal challenges

With the establishment of four clusters, the faculty will contribute to solving significant societal challenges and take research to new heights.

By Marlene Jørgensen, , 7/9/2020

Complex societal challenges require interdisciplinary solutions.

The more perspectives, ideas and insights that come into play, the greater the difference and impact they can create.

That is precisely the ambition with four new clusters to be introduced at the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences.

We must do whatever we can to jointly address and solve both current and future challenges. In short, this is the main reason why we are establishing the clusters, which – in addition to generating innovative knowledge – have the potential to strengthen the interdisciplinary research at SAMF and SDU.

Jens Ringsmose, Dean at the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences

- We constantly strive to create value for our surroundings and to utilise our knowledge. We do this best by actively contributing to finding solutions to the major global challenges of our time, says Dean Jens Ringsmose, who elaborates:

- Health, conflict, artificial intelligence and sustainability are themes that we relate directly to at the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences. We must do whatever we can to jointly address and solve both current and future challenges. In short, this is the main reason why we are establishing the clusters, which – in addition to generating innovative knowledge – have the potential to strengthen the interdisciplinary research at SAMF and SDU.

Four themes on the agenda

The new clusters will thus bring together researchers from the entire faculty and are also available to SDU colleagues from other parts of SDU. The four clusters focus on:

  • Humans, machines and governance
  • Global challenges to a rules-based order
  • Sustainable markets
  • Health and inequality

The clusters are still taking shape, and the next step will be for the cluster heads and the steering committee for the clusters to set the direction for each of their clusters.

A gain for research and practice

One of the cluster heads is Jes Søgaard, Professor and Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre on Population Dynamics (CPop). He will be heading a cluster focusing on health and inequality, and he expects great things from it.

- I look forward to entering into a strategic alliance where researchers with different backgrounds come together to tackle the challenges faced by the healthcare sector. This will benefit not only our research, but also the healthcare system, says Jes Søgaard, who is a professor of health economics and for 40 years has dealt with themes such as health and inequality.

- We know for a fact that inequality has neither gotten worse nor better over the last 40 years. However, it has likely changed in character. It is obvious to investigate the underlying sociological mechanisms in collaboration with epidemiologists and demographers. Another area in which there are synergy effects to be gained is public-private partnership. In this respect, we have a strong position as a ‘business school’, i.a. in areas such as innovation and operations, but the research must also have a healthcare foundation, otherwise the efforts will not work when they are to be implemented by the clinic. We constantly have to maintain this balance – the balance between social sciences and health sciences, says Jes Søgaard.

Open to all

In addition to Jes Søgaard, the other cluster heads have also been assigned.

Professor Dannie Kjeldgaard from the Department of Marketing & Management will head the ‘Sustainable Markets’ cluster; Professor Thomas Barnebeck Andersen from the Department of Business and Economics will be responsible for the cluster ‘Global Challenges to a Rules-based Order’, while Professor Thorbjørn Knudsen from the Department of Marketing & Management will be at the head of the ‘People, Machines and Governance’ cluster.

The clusters are a supplement to the current organisation with research groups and centres, and they are open to anyone who is interested in the themes and interdisciplinary collaboration – including researchers from other faculties and universities.