Health focuses on more interdisciplinarity with new PhD programs

To support PhD students in achieving a sharper professional profile and promote interdisciplinary collaboration, Health is now introducing three new PhD programs.

The new PhD programs will initially run as pilot projects based on three research networks: The Cardiovascular Network, the Inflammation Network, and NeuroCampus Aarhus.
The new PhD programs will initially run as pilot projects based on three research networks: The Cardiovascular Network, the Inflammation Network, and NeuroCampus Aarhus. Photo: Marjun Danielsen, AU Photo.

This summer, Health is launching three new PhD programs, each anchored in one of the faculty's research networks.

“With the new programs, we can offer PhD students a platform and a path to develop their professional skills and collaborate across disciplines,” says Head of Graduate School Helene Nørrelund.

Three pilot programs starting this year

Future PhD students at Health will have the opportunity to follow a tailored program within a specific subject area when they apply for admission to the faculty.

The new PhD programs will initially run as pilot projects based on three research networks: The Cardiovascular Network, the Inflammation Network, and NeuroCampus Aarhus.

The programs have been carefully selected and approved by the deans office, and the program leaders have since worked intensively to develop the content and specific courses that are part of the programs.

For current PhD students with at least 12 months remaining in their PhD program as of January 1, 2025, it will be possible to apply for admission in September 2024. This is a one-time offer and will not be available going forward.

What do the PhD programs include?

  • The programs have academic activities at their core and include mandatory activities such as academic courses, annual meetings, international guest lectures, peer-to-peer sessions, and journal clubs.
  •  Additionally, PhD students in the programs can also participate in a range of voluntary research training activities - summer courses, seminars, and conference participation, for example, offered by national academies, NorDoc, and the faculty's research networks.
  • The new programs have been introduced as a pilot project, which means their success will be closely monitored and evaluated. If the initiative proves successful, there are plans to expand it to more research areas at Health.

The cardiovascular program is led by Stephan Lange from the Department of Biomedicine and Kasper Korsholm from the Department of Clinical Medicine.

The program focuses on diseases of the heart and circulatory system and gives PhD students the opportunity to delve into advanced research methods and techniques in cardiovascular medicine. Stephan Lange says about the new program:

"We want to create a dynamic learning environment where students can develop their research and access the latest techniques. The program allows us to train the next generation of researchers in the most advanced methods in cardiovascular medicine."

The inflammation program is led by Torben Steiniche from the Department of Clinical Medicine and Vivi Schlünssen from the Department of Public Health.

This program examines the role of inflammation in both non-communicable diseases and infections. Torben Steiniche explains:

"Inflammation is a key factor in many diseases, and with our new program, we can provide PhD students with the best tools to understand and combat these diseases. Our goal is to create a strong professional platform where students can become familiar with the most cutting-edge research methods in inflammation. The interdisciplinary collaboration in the inflammation network will strengthen our research efforts and give students the opportunity to work closely with experts from many different fields."

The neuroscience program is led by Mai Marie Holm and Marina Romero-Ramos, both from the Department of Biomedicine.

The program covers neuroscience broadly, including biomedical neurobiology, neurophysiology, and clinical neuroscience.

“Neuroscience is a rapidly developing field, and with this program, we can offer our students a unique opportunity to be part of an internationally recognized research environment. Our program bridges the gap between basic research and clinical research, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of the many facets of neuroscience,” says Mai Marie Holm.

You can read more about the content and framework of the three programs on the faculty's website (in English).

Strengthening interdisciplinary collaboration

One of the main goals of the new PhD programs is to support interdisciplinary collaboration and contribute to the recruitment of PhD students whose projects are conducted in collaboration across different academic disciplines.

“Interdisciplinary collaboration is essential for modern research and education. By involving the research networks at Health, we hope to create a dynamic and interactive learning and research environment for the PhD students,” says Helene Nørrelund.

Dean Anne-Mette Hvas praises the initiative:

"The new programs are an exciting initiative that can strengthen our work at the faculty to support interdisciplinary research. Many research questions have a nature and complexity that means they are best addressed by involving researchers from different disciplines. I am therefore both pleased and impressed with the work that our research networks have put into the creation of these pilot programs and look forward to following them."


Head of Graduate School Helene Nørrelund
Aarhus University, Deans Office, Health
Phone: +45 93 50 84 86