Aarhus University is a world leader within the areas of food and agriculture. The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries 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.
Research-based policy support comprises the policy support provide by the researchers in relation to actual commissions from the Ministry as well as the underlying research. In addition, the concept includes a series of tasks and services in relation to surveillance, support etc.
Policy support must be transparent and, basically, all deliverables may be freely published unless they contain information that is confidential. The framework agreement comprises three performance agreements within the DCA-related effort areas: plant production, livestock production and food quality and consumer behaviour.
The performance agreements constitute the scientific frame of DCA’s research-based policy support and describe the scientific focus areas. For each focus area, the actual tasks and projects agreed for the coming year are described. The framework agreements are adjusted annually, and this means that ongoing tasks and projects are included. In addition, the researchers must solve any urgent tasks or problems that may appear.
Public sector consultancy at Aarhus University centres on academic quality, punctuality, visibility of results as well as coordination and dialogue with the client, while ensuring that consultancy from the university is always kept clearly separate from the subsequent policy-making processes.
Quality assurance throughout the entire process is an important element in public sector consultancy, and Technical Sciences therefore has implemented a common and cohesive quality management system for public sector consultancy. The system guarantees high-quality services by ensuring quality in the individual steps in the process, and it can also be used as external documentation for how quality is assured in public sector consultancy from Technical Sciences.
The quality management system is certified according to the quality standard ISO9001. The certification was performed by FORCE Certification in September 2020.