Visionary Director of New Institute for Advanced Study in Problem-based Learning

Updated: about 1 month ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 31 Oct 2021

In a new major strategic venture, Aalborg University is establishing an interdisciplinary research and education centre, the Institute for Advanced Study in PBL (IAS PBL). As the new director, you will have the opportunity to advance the university's research and teaching in Problem-based Learning (PBL) which has been AAU's unique pedagogical model since its establishment in 1974. Aalborg University's PBL today has achieved national and international recognition, and the goal of establishing the new centre is to maintain and enhance the university's strong research position in PBL and to strengthen teaching, competence development, management advising and strategic development projects.


Today, AAU has a wealth of opportunities for research and educational development, and PBL is a significant foundation for the university's collaboration with the surrounding community.  PBL is the university's core value and one of the methods for increased interdisciplinary collaboration, expanded digitalisation, stronger graduate employability, heightened focus on entrepreneurship, as well as increased quality and internationalisation. As the new director of IAS PBL, you will have an important and challenging role in leading a core group of the university's PBL staff and, in the collaboration of IAS PBL and the rest of the organisation, compiling best practices and knowledge sharing across environments and main areas – in a unique setting where AAU serves as a PBL laboratory. The ambition is to put Aalborg University on the world map to an even greater degree.

As of 1 January 2022, IAS PBL will be established with a total of approximately 40 staff members in various affiliations. IAS PBL is a matrix organisation where some staff will be permanent and full-time, including the Centre for Digitally Supported Learning, and some will be in-house researchers from all over AAU, including the UNESCO Centre for PBL in the engineering and natural sciences and the AAU Learning Lab with competence development in university pedagogy. You report directly to the pro-rector at Aalborg University and will join the Strategic Council for Education as an advisor to the pro-rector.

As our new director your work will include:
When IAS PBL launches on 1 January it will be right-sized in terms of its broad contours, and agreements with the affiliated researchers and full-time staff members will be in place. Your main task is then to make IAS PBL operational with a broad portfolio of tasks in PBL research and PBL teaching, support for the programmes and management at the university in relation to PBL, staff competence development and strategic development projects. The research staff will be composed of researchers and existing research groups from different departments and academic environments at the university, and thus one of the major tasks is to ensure appropriate synergy. A number of research themes and projects are to be continued, but you are expected to initiate further discussions in the IAS PBL unit about future research and its organisation, and the interaction between PBL research and the disciplinary domains, competence development, programme advising and development projects.  In addition, you must ensure effective outreach to external stakeholders and the wider world with regard to participation in international research projects as well as recruitment of talented international researchers, teachers and students.

The role of director of IAS PBL is also to:
• Support staff members, including in their professional development, to ensure research at the highest international level
• Ensure that PBL research continues to support practice and that the environments are involved, developed and continuously up-skilled, including by providing opportunities for shorter-term affiliations for other interested staff members
• Initiate talent development to both enable internal career paths and strengthen recruitment of relevant research profiles
• Strengthen the work with increased external funding of the research at IAS PBL
• Participate in and ensure interdisciplinary partnerships and foster networks both at Aalborg University and in relation to external stakeholders and partners
• Ensure fruitful cooperation with ongoing research groups and entities that become part of the core group
• Assume overall responsibility for financial matters and administration
• Contribute to effective interaction with the rest of the university within the framework of IAS PBL as a matrix organisation

What you get:
You will be part of Aalborg University's ambitious venture, and in a position where you will be very visible internally and externally and will have the opportunity to influence the university's development in the coming years.

In addition, we will make sure that you have the opportunity for
• Continuous personal and managerial development through ongoing offers of management training
• Continuous professional development, including through the possibility of linking research time to the position to a limited extent

What we want:
The role of director of IAS PBL requires a skilled, insightful leader with an international outlook and a sense for building relationships. We expect you to be a recognised researcher at least at the associate professor level in PBL research or an adjacent relevant area of expertise. You are expected to have practical and research experience with PBL as a unique pedagogical learning platform, and you must be willing to “go the extra mile”. Furthermore, we emphasise that you have:
• Ability to create cohesion between disciplinary didactic groups
• Experience in research management and personnel management, and the ability to think and work strategically in terms of research and education, as well as insight into the interaction of research and higher education with the surrounding community
• Experience with interdisciplinary cooperation, external knowledge collaboration, networking and obtaining external funding for research activities
• Experience with educational pedagogy and didactics, particularly in connection with utilising the opportunities in new digital tools
• Interest and an eye for talent development and for creating attractive professional environments
• Desire to promote general well-being and the professional and personal development of staff members
• A visible, motivating and appreciative management style
• Thorough understanding of financial matters and administration
• Strong communication skills

Further information
Further information regarding the position can be obtained by contacting Anne Marie Kanstrup, Pro-rector (99407380/ ), or Jan Thomsen, Director, Ramsdal Executive (40407719/ ) who are assisting AAU in the process. To request “Presentation on establishing IAS PBL” contact Jan Thomsen.


Employment is for a set term of five years, with possible renewal of up to three years without advertisement. Employment begins as of 1 January 2022 or soon thereafter.

Employment and salary are in accordance with the Collective agreement for academics in the state sector, Protocol on employees in positions classified in salary range 35 - 42 and Circular on fixed-term employment. The position is classified in salary bracket 37. Additional individual salary supplements may be granted, subject to negotiation.

Upon expiry of the fixed-term employment period, an agreement to return to a prior position as associate professor or professor is possible. A return to a prior position may take place subject to a positive expert assessment in accordance with the Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities and the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

Aalborg University must receive your application online with a CV and any other relevant documentation attached. Open the link and complete the application form online. The deadline for applications is 31 October 2021. We draw applicants' attention to the fact that first interview is expected on 12 November 2021 and second interview on 18 November 2021.

AAU wants to reflect the surrounding community and has diversity as a core value. The director is expected to support this core value, and everyone is encouraged to apply for the position regardless of personal background and orientation.

All degree programmes and research activities at Aalborg University are problem- and project-based and have an interdisciplinary focus. Through collaboration among researchers, students, and public and private sectors, we offer degree programmes with a real-world approach and produce world-class research. This allows us to achieve new insights, find new solutions to societal challenges and create knowledge that changes the world. Learn more at

View or Apply

Similar Positions