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New director for DCA – Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture

Niels Halberg will in the new year take on the position of director in the DCA – Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture, whilst at the same time continuing as centre leader of ICROFS – International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems. The combined leadership of the two centres is to create a wider foundation for research-based advice and knowledge exchange.

[Translate to English:] Niels Halberg overtager fra årsskiftet direktørposten i DCA – Nationalt Center for Fødevarer og Jordbrug. Han fortsætter samtidig som centerleder af ICROFS - Internationalt Center for Forskning i Økologisk Jordbrug og Fødevaresystemer.

Aarhus University (AU) contains two centres, DCA and ICROFS, both of which have co-ordinated operations in relation to research and public sector services concerning agriculture and food. DCA coordinates research-based public sector consulting and knowledge exchange on behalf of the farming and food  research carried out at several of AU's departments. ICROFS initiates and coordinates research in organic farming. Both centres have secretariats at AU Foulum, and have a combined staff of 20.

Both ICROFS and DCA deliver research and public sector services to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. The two centres are now strengthening their cooperation in that Niels Halberg is taking over the leadership of DCA whilst remaining in charge of ICROFS. The other agencies of ICROFS will not be affected by the two centres having the same leader. ICROFS' international management and programme committee will continue unchanged, and an advisory committee for DCA is being established.

New possibilities for international cooperation
- Niels Halberg is a well-recognised researcher with international experience as a centre leader, says vice-dean Kurt Nielsen, AU. He points out that the appointment of Niels Halberg will strengthen the ability of the university to deliver high quality, research-based advice. Research in agriculture and food will, meanwhile, be able to take advantage of Niels Halberg's experience and ability to mould international research collaborations benefiting the Danish agricultural sector as a whole.

Multidisciplinary cooperation and synergy
A significant synergy can be formed via the two centres being establishing a closer bond, explains centre leader Niels Halberg:

- In the last few years there have been many examples showing that the more basic research can be advantageously combined with classical agricultural research. In this way knowledge can be developed which is useful for both organic and conventional farming; similarly to how research and development in organic farming has devised methods which can be used in conventional farming. The exploitation of this new knowledge is conditional on better integration and cooperation between the classical agricultural research environments and more basic research areas, he says.

Niels Halberg, furthermore, indicates that there is a need to ensure that results from this research are converted into targeted dissemination, advice and industrial development.
- These are issues that both ICROFS and DCA are working on, and the increased cooperation between the two centres will provide a wider foundation for research-based advice and knowledge exchange, supporting growth and green transitions in the entire sector, says Niels Halberg.

New challenge for Jørgen B. Jespersen
Jørgen Jespersen has been acting director of DCA since the structural developments. He will take on the position of special advisor to the dean at Science and Technology from the start of the new year.

- Jørgen B. Jespersen has done a great job in building up the DCA, says dean Brian Bech Nielsen. I look forward to continuing our close cooperation.


Further Information

Vice-dean, Science and Technology, Kurt Nielsen, telephone. +45 4084 1780, email kni@science.au.dk 

Centre leader Niels Halberg, telephone. +45 2963 0093, email: Niels.Halberg@icrofs.org

Chairman of the board (ICROFS) Thomas Harttung, telephone. +45 2270 0701, email: th@aarstiderne.com