News from the University management 15 March
On the management’s agenda
The planning of Science Village Scandinavia is underway
The land between Max IV and ESS is owned by the University, Lund municipality and Region Skåne, and this is where Science Village Scandinavia (SVS) is to be built. “SVS is to be filled with support functions to the two facilities, as well as be an important place where academia and industry come together – a place for innovation and development. We at the University want to create opportunities for all faculties to take part in this innovative environment”, writes the Vice-Chancellor in his blog. Preparations in the form of reviewing which activities – major and minor – may be of interest to relocate to SVS is currently underway at the faculties of Science, Medicine and Engineering.
Ethics council being established at LU
Research misconduct is a hot topic at the moment, especially considering the Macchiarini scandal at Karolinska Institutet. “Extremely few researchers cheat and, luckily, almost no researcher puts human lives at stake in order to develop their own methods. For the tragic events at KI not to become completely meaningless, however, we must learn from them”, writes the Vice-Chancellor in his blog. He asks what can be done to ensure research integrity and sound research practices. Torbjörn von Schantz believes it has to do with not ignoring the signals – even if they are early or vague – and to work preventively and increase ethical awareness. “Research ethics is extremely important and we are currently in the stages of planning the establishment of an ethics council here at the University, headed by the Pro Vice-Chancellor for external engagement, to help guide me and the deans”, he writes. The University already has a research misconduct review board and a regional ethical review board, and the purpose of this new council will be to work on wider ethical issues to raise ethical awareness throughout the organisation.
Many ongoing projects for increased external engagement at LU
Pro Vice-Chancellor Bo Ahrén, who has a special responsibility for external engagement, will here provide a regular account of the different projects that he manages, which above all concern different types of external engagement. This time it includes an update on the new Strategic Plan, the new Arts Council, external engagement forums with industry and politicians, and other current issues that the management is currently working on. Read more in the attached PDF
Objections to investigation on collegial leadership
In its consultation response to Kåre Bremer’s report on management development at higher education institutions, LU criticises the description made of collegial leadership as out-of-date, conservative and not suited to solve the challenges facing the University. On the contrary, the University writes in its response, collegial leadership is central to maintaining the academic teaching profession. Rather, there is a need for increased professionalism and collegial leadership within both education and research. LU also wants to keep the consultative process that takes place in the recruitment of a new vice-chancellor, having multiple candidates instead of just one, as suggested in the investigation.
Watch Debate in Lund online
“Faktaresistens” (resistance to facts) became one of the new words of 2015 adopted by the Swedish Institute for Language and Folklore. The phenomenon is attributed to people who do not change their minds regardless of the facts presented. The question is what this means in a time when established channels are being abandoned and people find their own news through social media? And what happens to the public discourse if the forums where people of different opinions meet disappear, and increasingly barricade themselves inside certain boxes or filter bubbles? These issues were discussed at Debate in Lund last Monday. For those of you who were unable to attend, you can watch the debate here (in Swedish)
The NMT days are in full swing
The NMT days are currently taking place and will continue until Friday. The NMT days have been organised by the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Engineering every year since 1998. The week includes about 300 popular science lectures.
Higher education news
Qualification system proposed in Norway to ensure quality teaching
In its international newsletter, the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) writes that a joint working group at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Tromsø have presented a proposal for a system for obtaining teaching qualifications, based on national guidelines. The working group’s report is based on the two institutions’ ambition to strengthen the quality of teaching. The measures proposed by the group include requirements for basic teaching skills for those applying for permanent employment, and establishing a level of qualifications for a title as a qualified teaching practitioner.
“Sweden loses ground in cutting-edge research”
“Sweden is in need of a comprehensive idea for a research system that helps solve difficult societal challenges and modernise and improve higher education”, writes Mats Benner and Sverker Sörlin in an opinion piece in Dagens Nyheter. They are both members of the Swedish Government’s research advisory committee (the former works at LU). They call for a “knowledge policy that seriously prepares Sweden for facing the increasingly uncontrollable uncertainties of our time – such as migration, sustainability, ageing, digitalisation, and automation”. They believe this “requires a new vision of what education and research is and how it is to be conducted”. If nothing is done, there is a risk that Sweden will fall far behind the leading knowledge environments in North America and Asia. In the article, they propose a series of measures to create a more responsible knowledge policy.
New rules to end the abuse of fixed-term employments
In the beginning of March, the Swedish Parliament adopted changes to the Employment Protection Act, with the aim of decreasing employers’ abuse of fixed-term appointments, for instance, when an employee is appointed to one fixed-term employment after another with the same employer during a long period of time.