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More information about Lund University’s five profile areas

The different profile areas in circles connected to each others.
Illustration by Catrin Jacobsson.

The news last week that Lund University has five profile areas has generated a lot of interest. Since the information at this stage has been rather limited, I will answer the three most common questions here. More information will be published about the profile areas after the summer holidays.

Question 1: What will the profile areas do?

All five profile areas are based on excellent research, with a distinct profile compared to what is done at other universities in Sweden and internationally. They all have ambitious plans for the future for which they utilise the breadth of Lund University. They have extensive collaboration with external partners and their research is linked to present education complemented with plans for new courses.

Below the focus of each profile area is summarised in a couple of sentences.

Human Rights in a Polarised World

The profile area will consolidate and dynamically develop Lund University’s standing as a unique hub for cross-disciplinary human rights research and education. As a field of study, human rights addresses challenges related to democracy, civil society, conflicts, disasters, migration, health, gender, religion and new technologies. In an increasingly polarised world, where democracy is threatened by authoritarianism, and violence and inequalities are widespread and growing, the concerted effort at Lund University to study and promote human rights as effective tools for justice is more urgent than ever.

Light and Materials – from fundamental understanding to industrial and societal needs

The profile area will harness the recent dramatic progress in our ability to measure and control light and materials, to substantially improve our understanding of the natural world and use this to create technologies that will enable a sustainable and healthy society. In Lund, we have a unique opportunity to work in this area with the combined expertise and facilities gathering at Science Village Scandinavia and around it.

Natural and Artificial Cognition: 1, 2, many

The profile area will develop an understanding of cognition for natural and artificial systems and develop artificial cognition in terms of software and systems. Cognition means the process of sensing, processing, and sharing information, leading up to observable behaviour. The profile area will also aim at understanding the complex consequences of collective cognition for both the natural and artificial entities and address challenges connected with the large-scale automation of society.

Proactive Ageing: Brain & Movement – from molecular changes to engagement with life and society

The profile area will develop transdisciplinary health promotive approaches towards proactive ageing, focusing on maintaining cognitive functions and musculoskeletal health as prerequisites for activity and participation. The profile area will determine measures for an early identification of individuals at risk, using both economic, social and biological markers, and aim to identify and utilise windows of opportunity for proactive preventive measures to improve health and quality of life for future generations of older people.

Sustainable Solutions in the Climate Change – Biodiversity – Society Nexus – ClimBioSis

The profile area will focus on ecosystem-based approaches which offer an integrative and systemic framework that contends that mobilising ecosystem processes for climate mitigation and adaptation can create co-benefits for biodiversity and societies. Translating such approaches into viable social and political strategies requires that they are underpinned by science able to identify and quantify relevant trade-offs and synergies. These relationships critically depend on human and societal interactions.

Question 2: Which faculties are involved in which profile areas?

Typical for the five profile areas is that several faculties are involved (see Figure below). All faculties, except the Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts, are participating in at least two profile areas and the Faculty of Engineering, LTH and the Faculty of Medicine, are involved in all five profile areas. The University Management is committed to work with the profile areas in order to ensure that researchers from the Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts are included in at least one profile area, in order to utilise this unique expertise at Lund University.

Diagram over the faculties involvement.

Figure 1. The involvement of the faculties in the five profile areas.

Question 3: Who are the contact persons for the profile areas?

Below is a list of contact persons for each profile area. However, it should be noted that all profile areas are developed by and organised around groups of strong researchers rather than just one individual.

“Human Rights in a Polarised World”, contact person is professor Lena Halldenius (lena [dot] halldenius [at] mrs [dot] lu [dot] se).

“Light and Materials - from fundamental understanding to industrial and societal needs”, contact person is professor Tönu Pullerits (tonu [dot] pullerits [at] chemphys [dot] lu [dot] se).

“Natural and Artificial Cognition: 1, 2, many”, contact person is professor Kalle Åström (karl [dot] astrom [at] math [dot] lth [dot] se).

“Proactive Ageing: Brain & Movement - from molecular changes to engagement with life and society”, contact person is professor Susanne Iwarsson (susanne [dot] iwarsson [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se).

“Sustainable Solutions in the Climate Change-Biodiversity-Society Nexus – ClimBioSis”, contact person is professor Henrik Smith (henrik [dot] smith [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se).

Read the former post from Per Mickwitz regarding the Vice-Chancellor decision.