Univ. of Copenhagen to open office at Yale

The University of Copenhagen will open an office on the Yale campus in January, making it the third international university to send a permanent representative to New Haven under a one-of-a-kind program sponsored by the University.

A series of representatives from Copenhagen will join a development official from the Australian National University and several professors from the University of Tokyo, all of whom are already on campus as part of the International Alliance of Research Universities program. The arrangement offers free office space to member schools in the IARU, an organization aimed at promoting collaboration among some of the world’s leading research universities.

While University administrators said it is still unclear how the Danish representatives will make use of their time in New Haven, they will use the office as a de facto base of operations on the East Coast.

The collaboration may be unprecedented. Yale officials said they do not know of another program elsewhere in the world through which university representatives are posted abroad at another university as part of a collaborative arrangement.

Yale is a founding member of the IARU, which was formed nearly two years ago.

As one of its first initiatives as an IARU member, the University has offered office space at 55 Whitney Ave. to any member institution that wishes to send a representative to Yale, said Donald Filer, the associate secretary of the University and the director of the office of international affairs.

The University of Copenhagen — the largest research university in Denmark and widely seen as one of the best in Europe — was the third school to take Yale up on that offer, Filer said.

“This gives us another way to really be working with these universities on a daily basis with a person who’s right here,” he said. “It’s definitely a cool thing in that it’s leading to new ideas, and will lead to new ideas in ways of working together that are pretty interesting.”

No one from the Danish university was immediately available for comment Wednesday night. But University officials said they have been told that Copenhagen will initially station deans and senior faculty at Yale for several weeks at a time.

In Denmark, news of the collaboration between the University of Copenhagen and Yale was greeted as a major recognition of Copenhagen as an established world university.

“With this the University of Copenhagen joins the definite elite and gets even more contacts to some of the world’s leading research and education environments,” wrote the Danish daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende this week in an article that was translated from Danish to English on the Web site for the city of Copenhagen’s development agency. “With the opening of the office, the University of Copenhagen becomes visible at Yale and the collaboration between the two universities about research and education is expected to be intensified.”

As of last fall, the University had two undergraduate students who hailed from Denmark, along with six students in Yale’s graduate and professional schools, according to data from the Office of Institutional Research.

Under the IARU collaboration, the vice president for development at the Australian National University came to Yale last fall to study the University’s alumni-outreach and fundraising efforts.

And last month, two prominent Japanese professors from the University of Tokyo arrived on campus as part of the newly announced Todai-Yale Initiative for Japanese Studies and Related Humanities and Social Sciences, which aims to bring visiting faculty to Yale to conduct research on Japanese studies. A third faculty member will come to New Haven next month.

University President Richard Levin will host the presidents of the nine other IARU member institutions at a meeting on campus this spring.

The IARU’s other members include the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, Peking University, the National University of Singapore and ETH Zurich.

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