News from the university management 1 April
News from the university management
Universities to allocate government appropriations themselves
At the SUHF General Assembly last week, all the Swedish higher education institutions agreed a joint position. Vice-Chancellor Torbjörn von Schantz is one of those who initiated this and he writes on his blog that “it is about enabling Swedish universities to use their government appropriations as a framework to ‘confirm the indissoluble link between education and research and reduce internal bureaucracy’”. The universities want the Government to continue to allocate direct funding to universities in two portions, for education and research, but the important point is that the universities themselves should decide how best to manage the funding within education and research. Among other things, this will “increase opportunities for research-funded professors and senior lecturers to contribute to undergraduate and Master’s teaching”, he writes.
Professional development for managers an important strategy for LU
A few days ago, some of those who have attended one of the University’s management training programmes met to discuss their experiences of management at the University. “I see excellence among leaders and employees as an important strategy to develop the organisation. I am part of a newly established steering group for leadership at LU with representatives from across the faculties. I hope that together we can raise the profile of leadership issues at the University. Such a large university needs to have a modern leadership philosophy throughout the organisation”, writes the vice-chancellor on his blog.
“Strategic partnerships are important”
During a visit to Washington in March, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Eva Wiberg met representatives of the University of Maryland (UMD). Different forms of collaboration were discussed and a Memorandum of Understanding and an exchange agreement were signed. These will facilitate collaborations in research and education, and staff and student mobility. “Many of LU’s research, education and innovation areas seem to match quite well with those of UMD”, writes the deputy vice-chancellor. For more information, see the deputy vice-chancellor’s blog
Collaboration on research on poverty and famine
During Eva Wiberg’s trip to Washington, she also met representatives of USAID (United States Agency for International Development). USAID works to end global poverty. The organisation has a Global Development Lab, which aims to increase advances in science and technology, as well as innovation and partnerships to help end extreme poverty. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) is co-financing the development labs, which creates a good common ground on which to start collaborating on a university level, both for LU and for the U21 network, writes the deputy vice-chancellor on her blog. More information
Torbjörn von Schantz at Fredagsfåtöljen
Fredagsfåtöljen is an event organised by the Faculty of Science that features talks by researchers and exciting personalities. On 10 April it is the turn of the vice-chancellor, and he will be speaking on the topic of “Radikala sexuella signaler” (radical sexual signals). There will then be time for questions from the audience. More information on the Faculty of Science website
Geniuses in focus at Humanities and Theology Days
This year the Humanities and Theology Days (HT-dagarna) are on the theme of “Genier och andra” (Geniuses and others). The event takes place on 17–18 April and features around 30 popular science lectures, some of which will be in English. For more information, see the HT website
Organic food: fair deal or obstacle to development?
Sales of organic food are breaking all records. People increasingly want to eat ‘fair’ food and are prepared to pay for it. But does organic food really lead to a better climate, happier animals and a healthier life? Or is it just another fad that hinders development of ordinary agriculture and at worst could lead to global famine? There is strong interest in the next ‘Debatt i Lund’ on 8 April. More information on the Debatt i Lund page
Two LU researchers among first Wallenberg Clinical Scholars
The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation is investing almost SEK 600 million over ten years in the Wallenberg Clinical Scholars programme. Two of the first four researchers to receive grants from the programme are David Erlinge, consultant and professor of cardiology, and Martin L. Olsson, consultant and professor of transfusion medicine, both at the Faculty of Medicine. They receive SEK 15 million over a five-year period, with the possibility of an extension of a further five years.
Higher education news
Government maps work on widening participation
The Government has asked the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR) to map and analyse the work done by Sweden’s universities on widening participation in higher education. The task includes presenting examples of best practice and disseminating information about them. ”We can see that the social imbalance in recruitment remains. It is still three times more likely that a person whose parents went to university will also go on to higher education than a person whose parents only completed upper secondary school. This recruitment imbalance means that not everyone is getting the same chances”, said Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Minister for Higher Education and Research, in a press release.
“Difficult for researchers to get permanent posts in academia”
It takes longer and longer to obtain a permanent post as a researcher in Sweden, according to an analysis by the Swedish Research Council. The analysis also showed that men and women have different rates of career progression and that the situation is different in different fields. The Swedish Research Council is now calling for a coordinated national academic careers system. ”I believe that most people in the Swedish higher education community agree that too many young researchers are employed with little job security and that this causes many talented researchers, especially in highly competitive fields, to decide against an academic career”, said Director-General of the Swedish Research Council Sven Stafström in a press release.
New proposal for quality assurance
The Government has sent out a proposal for a new quality assurance system for higher education in Sweden. The proposed system comprises four parts: re‑examination of degree-awarding powers, evaluation of education, review of universities’ quality assurance systems and thematic evaluations. “The proposal for a new system aims to incorporate more aspects of quality and more disciplines. The Government also wants to see an internationally accepted system to create legitimacy for Swedish higher education”, said Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Minister for Higher Education and Research, in a press release.
MOOCs on the Government’s agenda
The Government has asked the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) to analyse massive open online courses (MOOCs). The questions to be addressed are both if and how MOOCs can be incorporated into the framework of Swedish higher education and how Swedish universities may be affected by the development of MOOCs internationally.