DCA – Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture is the framework for the collaboration between the research environments within the agricultural and food areas at Aarhus University. DCA is supported by a central unit which coordinates the university’s agreement with the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark on research-based policy support.
Making decisions on new legislation and social initiatives is often complicated. Significant amounts of knowledge form part of the basis for decision-making. New technologies emerge continuously and it may be difficult to get a general overview. Research-based policy support provides the authorities with the best and most recent knowledge available. The idea is that scientists working within specific areas gather knowledge and put it into perspective in relation to a given question.
Aarhus University is a world leader within the areas of food and agriculture. The Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark has therefore entered into an agreement with the university on the provision of research-based policy support within these areas. To ensure cross-disciplinary cooperation between the research environments within food and agriculture, Aarhus University has established DCA – Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture. The centre provides the framework for cooperation and it is supported by a central unit that coordinates e.g. policy support.
The agreement with the ministry respects the arm’s length principle and DCA’s policy support is solely based on scientific contributions provided by scientists. The authorities are responsible for subsequent political and administrative considerations. DCA also has a duty to take initiatives; a duty that puts the university under the obligation to evaluate which areas may become topical for the policy support.
The evaluation may initiate research tasks in areas within which there is a need for further or new knowledge. In this connection DCA is supported by an advisory panel the main task of which is to provide advice on the superior vision and strategy, including the relevance of research in relation to society’s future needs for advisory services. Members of the advisory panel include representatives from the Danish food and agricultural sector.