DENMARK: Long-time universities' minister loses job

In a major reshuffle of government ministerial posts last week, former Science Minister Helge Sander lost his job which included responsibility for the country's universities. The University of Copenhagen's University Post reported that Sander had been replaced by Charlotte Sahl-Madsen, a Conservative Party member who chairs the board of a corporate-sponsored innovation fund within industrial company Danfoss.

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen's decision to appoint Sahl-Madsen to the science portfolio surprised observers who had predicted other more likely contenders.

Sander had held the post for more than eight years, making him a veteran among Danish ministers but deeply unpopular among academics, researchers and students. He attracted the ire of academe for his business-like slogan "from thought to invoice" - an expression that generated a wave of anger among researchers.

State universities were also alarmed by his call last year for the creation of private universities. Changes he introduced to university governance have resulted in professional boards of managers, with a majority of non-university members, that critics claim are more like the corporate world of business.

Sander was also responsible for a shift in the way research is carried out so that universities and their departments now have to compete for funding.