News from the University management 2 June
On the management’s agenda
“A week that highlights meritorious work”
When the beautiful early summer weather arrives it is also time for many celebrations and graduations. “For some there is graduation from upper secondary school, and for us within academia it is naturally the Doctoral Degree Conferment Ceremony that crowns the year with pageantry. It is always pleasing to celebrate those who have contributed so many years’ of hard work. This applies to those who have now completed a thesis and those who will become honorary doctors,” writes the vice chancellor in his blog. This year is the first time that the Faculty of Engineering (LTH) will have a jubilee doctor, who received a doctorate 50 years ago. Meritorious work within the University was also recognised at a Vice-Chancellor’s reception recently.
“Student influence advances the University”
A few weeks ago we celebrated 150 years of student influence – students’ unions were formally established in 1867. “Student influence today is well developed and professionally run. And even though the students’ union membership obligation was abolished seven years ago, student influence has remained strong at Lund University,” writes the vice-chancellor in his blog. The students set high demands for education, point out deficiencies and suggest improvements. “It is students with demands who help to enhance the quality of education and who are responsible for a large part of the University’s development, not least by being involved in all our drafting processes.”
Many important network meetings were held in the spring
Eva Wiberg has represented LU at several important network meetings around the world. In April she was in Japan in connection with the ongoing Swedish-Japanese research collaboration project, MIRAI. Subjects discussed included the forthcoming research seminar to be held in Lund in October. The Universitas 21 (U21) network held a meeting in Nottingham at which LU and the University of Nottingham signed a strategic partnership agreement. “This is an agreement that I hope will lead to fruitful cooperation in the years to come,” writes Eva Wiberg in her blog. Two new members – the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and Waseda University, Japan, – were welcomed as new members, while Ohio State University, USA, and McGill University, Canada, opted to leave U21. LERU (League of European Research Universities) also held a meeting and welcomed two new members, the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Read more about these and other meetings in the deputy vice-chancellor’s blog
Ambiguities in government bill contribute to concern over SRAs
Lund University has been successful in attracting major funding for strategic research, as well as Linnaeus grants and Strategic Research Areas (SRAs). Regarding SRAs, the Government has not indicated if, or how, financing is to be continued after 2020,” writes Torbjörn von Schantz in his blog. “At present we do not know if any new SRAs will be presented in the next government bill for research, if the existing ones are to be extended, or if there will be a decision to place the emphasis on a larger basic grant instead of earmarked research areas. A further factor that increases uncertainty is that the Government is planning a new management model for resource allocation and we do not know yet how it will be structured. These uncertainties have created difficulties for future planning concerning activities and the University,” he writes.
The importance of researchers reaching out to society
The Conversation and Gothenburg Book Fair are two ways for researchers to reach out to society and thereby contribute to increased knowledge,” writes the vice-chancellor in his blog. LU is the first university outside the UK to participate in the British part of The Conversation. During the first three months, 13 researchers have been published there within many different subject areas.
Another arena is the Gothenburg Book Fair, which the University has participated in for many years. Since last year there have been many discussions about whether to participate or not, and several authors have declined to take part due to criticism of one of the exhibitors. However, LU has decided to continue its participation. “The University’s stand is a forum for knowledge-based discussion about society marked by objectivity and commitment, as well as by a critical and reflective perspective. Through its presence, the University can make itself visible and safeguard the values that are the guidelines for a Swedish public authority. This applies to values such as democracy, objectivity, equality, diversity, respect for everyone’s equal value, and for human freedoms and rights,” writes the Vice-Chancellor.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor appointment process extended
At a meeting on 19 May the Nominating Committee determined that the process period for appointing a Deputy Vice-Chancellor to succeed Eva Wiberg needs to be extended. The stated reason was that it is the University Board’s intention to fulfil the Electoral College’s wish to be able to present several candidates for the position. The continued process will be discussed at the University Board’s meeting on 16 June. Read more about the process on the Staff Pages
Unusually high number of conferred doctorates
On Friday 2 June it is time for the major University celebration – the Doctoral Degree Conferment Ceremony. The ceremony will confer 292 doctorates, (162 women and 130 men), of which 28 absentees, and 19 honorary doctorates (10 women and 9 men). There will also be the conferment of 25 jubilee doctors (3 women and 22 men), of which 11 absentees. This year it is 50 years since the Faculty of Engineering (LTH) conferred its first doctorates. This means that this year will be the first time that LTH confers a jubilee doctorate. Read more on the LU website, which will also feature photos from the conferment ceremony
Higher education news
Gender equality is to permeate the work of research councils
Gender equality is becoming a natural part of the government research councils’ activities, writes Universitetsläraren in an article. The four government research councils: Formas, Forte, the Swedish Research Council and Vinnova all work systematically on gender equality issues. Both Vinnova’s and the Swedish Research Council’s studies show that we cannot assume that we make objective, gender-neutral assessments of research applications, says Sophia Ivarsson, an administrator at Vinnova, in the article. The aim is for research councils to ensure that assessments of research applications are fair, but there are still several areas of improvement.
Benchmarking will develop Master’s programmes
The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) is participating in the Norwegian project, EUROMA, which concerns the benchmarking of Master’s programmes. “Through this project we want to identify important quality factors in Master’s programmes. We hope that this can contribute to the development of new methods for quality development at higher education institutions and to international cooperation,” says UKÄ’s investigator, Charlotte Elam, on UKÄ’s website. A report with results from the project will be published in September. The principal aim is to disseminate good practices and promote quality improvements at universities and higher education institutions.
“Erosion of resources must cease immediately”
“SULF urges all higher education institutions and students’ unions to support a call for an immediate increase in resources for first-cycle courses and study programmes. Otherwise, Sweden risks losing ground as a knowledge nation, our students risk getting an inferior education and our members risk an insufferable work situation,” writes Lars-Åke Lööv, second vice-chair of SULF, in an opinion piece. Regarding resource allocation for research, SULF considers that basic government funding must increase to at least 60 percent of higher education institutions’ revenue for research and third-cycle courses and study programmes. Regarding first-cycle courses and study programmes, the erosion of resources must be compensated for and be prevented from continuing.