Rector Ralf Hemmingsen – University of Copenhagen

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Rector Ralf Hemmingsen, Professor

Ralf Hemmingsen was born in 1949 and graduated from the Faculty of Health Sciences in 1975. The following year, he was awarded the University of Copenhagen Gold Medal. He gained his Doctorate in Medicine in 1981 and became a consultant psychiatrist in 1983. His professorship followed in 1995.


On 1 November 2005, Professor Ralf Hemmingsen became the 258th Rector of the University of Copenhagen and the first Rector ever to be employed by the University rather than elected by staff and students. Prior to his position as Rector, he was Dean at the Faculty of Health Sciences, following a job as Medical Director at the Psychiatric Department, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen. He has also been Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Copenhagen since 1995.

Research and Teaching

In the period 1975-2006, Prof. Hemmingsen published 161 papers in scientific journals, of which 139 are indexed in Medline. His field of research is neurobiology and psychiatry, with special reference to schizophrenia and psychiatric law. His research includes clinical work with patients and experimental studies using animal modelling. He has supervised nine PhD students and has co-tutored additional five.

Professor Hemmingsen has extensive experience in undergraduate teaching from his time as a clinical lecturer in psychiatry between 1978-80 and 1984-95, and since 1995 as professor. He has also gained experience in teaching, both as teacher and course director in biological psychiatry, acute psychiatry and psychiatric law since 1984. He has further taught courses for researchers and consultant specialists. Finally, he has been a member of - and has chaired - national and international scientific bodies.

Managerial Experience

From 1986-2002, Ralf Hemmingsen was Medical Director of a major ward at Bispebjerg Hospital, with responsibility for professional development, HR, finance and construction projects along with institutional and sector collaborations. While overseeing professional specialisation, he was also in charge of extensive rebuilding and decentralisation projects.

Subsequently, he was Dean at the Faculty of Health Sciences from 2002-2005 until his current appointment as Rector. His aim has been to shorten the distance between staff and management and between idea, analysis, decision and results. Ralf Hemmingsen has been at the forefront of strategic activities within the fields of research prioritisation, establishing inter-faculty/institutional educational programmes and scientific endeavours, staff and wage policy and finance management