News from the University management 22 February
On the management’s agenda
Lund University is to have attained gender equality by 2020
The University Board has commissioned the Vice-Chancellor to draw up a plan that proposes concrete measures for attaining gender equality at the University by 2020. In his blog, Torbjörn von Schantz called it a historic decision, as this is the first time ever a date has been set for attaining gender equality. “A really good decision based on a really good discussion and clear ambition from the board! The lack of equality has been discussed for a long time, and it’s about time that we are forced to take concrete action. The fact that only about one in four professors today are women is unacceptable”, he writes.
New external engagement council takes on our cultural treasure
The University management has now established yet another external engagement council – this time in the field of the arts. “It’s going to be so much fun and inspiring to work with the twelve qualified members, all with extensive experience in their respective fields, to see how we can strengthen our external engagement in the arts. Our extensive cultural activities need more public exposure, and we need to increase our collaborations with cultural activities in society”, writes Pro Vice-Chancellor Bo Ahrén in a press release, and continues: “Lund University sits on a cultural treasure, not only because we conduct research and education in art, music, theatre and literature, but also because we have a number of museums and collections of great cultural value. This untapped potential and these activities deserve attention! We will begin this spring”. In addition to Bo Ahrén, the council includes twelve external members and one student representative.
Open Access is a cornerstone in the new paradigm shift of research
LERU, the League of European Research Universities, recently published a statement about Open Access – an important issue as we live in a time of open research and open data, which makes “open access to research publications one of the cornerstones of the new research paradigm, and the business models of the publishers must support this transition”, writes Deputy Vice-Chancellor Eva Wiberg in her blog. Today, Swedish and other European universities use a significant part of their budgets to pay publishers which, in a European context, amounts to hundreds of millions of Euros. “At Lund University we strongly support the LERU initiative and look forward to a transition from traditional subscription models to an open access future”, she writes. Read more in the Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s blog
“The award I am jealous of”
The University’s annual celebration took place at the end of January. “During this event, one of the finest awards is presented, namely, the students’ award for teaching staff who make the extra effort to impart knowledge. I am seriously jealous of this award because it involves such amazing performances in teaching, and – not least – the students’ appreciation of them”, writes the Vice-Chancellor in his blog. An explicit goal of Torbjörn von Schantz is to raise the status of teaching staff and teaching. “During the annual celebration, I was once again reminded of how important it is for us to see and acknowledge good teaching, and give teaching staff the resources they need, not simply in terms of money, but in the form of supervision, professional development courses and opportunities to develop their subjects”, he writes.
Time to sign up for Lundaloppet
As in previous years, the University offers to pay the registration fee for all its employees who want to run in Lundaloppet, which will this year take place on 14 May. You can choose to run five or ten kilometres. There is also a 5K jog group for those who do not wish to be timed. Sign up via the registration form on the Lundaloppet website. Read more on the Staff Pages
Third seminar on the Strategic Plan
On 22 March there will be a third seminar on the Strategic Plan – the University’s most important policy document, which will take effect in 2017 and be valid for ten years. The University management therefore thinks it is important that as many as possible are involved in the process of drawing up this new plan. Participants in the seminar will be given the opportunity express their opinions and contribute to the discussion. In addition to the Vice-Chancellor’s seminars, there are ongoing meetings with the faculties. Read more and register here
Lund’s first film festival on human rights
Starting 4 March, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute is hosting a four-day film festival focusing on human rights. The festival will include the screening of nine films, as well as Q&A sessions and panel discussions. Read more in our Calendar
Higher education news
Superficial investments contributed to the KI scandal
The news reports about the physician Paolo Macchiarini at Karolinska Institutet who is suspected of research misconduct have been intense over the past few weeks. The back-and-forths and new discoveries have kept coming. In an opinion piece in Dagens Nyheter, Nobel Prize winner Arvid Carlsson and professors Elias Eriksson and Kristoffer Hellstrand argue that the former government’s investments in acquiring leading researchers contributed to the scandal. “The unfortunate competition for enormous government appropriations which the then Minister of Education Lars Leijonborg introduced through his research policy has contributed to the disaster that Leijonborg, now KI chair, has to deal with”, they write, and observe that it is important to analyse the policy decisions that made this happen. The focus on acquiring leading researchers can be compared to how a Russian billionaire can purchase top players to a mediocre football team. “In recent years, Swedish research funding has been characterised by an inverse relationship between the attention to scientific assessments and the amount of allocated funding. When the Swedish Research Council decides on modest individual grants, this is done by having experts in the field thoroughly review and compare the qualifications of individual researchers (known as peer review). But when the allocation for so-called investments in excellence involves several times that amount, the assessments are always far more arbitrary”, they write.
Critical objections to U-Multirank
“The results presented by U-Multirank are based on unverified data and imprecise definitions. Moreover, the quality indicators used in the system are not ideal for making international comparisons. These critical observations come from the Coimbra Group (CG), an umbrella organisation for a number of European higher education institutions”, writes the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) in its international newsletter. At the same time, CG finds that the approach used is superior to those of commercial operators. “Nevertheless, U-Multirank should take a step back and, instead of focusing on the tools used for ranking, focus all of its efforts on improving the database on which the rankings are based. Their recommendation is mainly directed at the European Commission, which funds a large part of the work within U-Multirank.” U-Multirank rejects the objections to the lack of transparency.
The Education Committee wants a follow-up of the new quality assurance system
The Swedish Government wants to create a new quality assurance system for higher education, which the Swedish Higher Education Authority is to be responsible for. The Education Committee is in favour of the proposal, but finds that there is a lack of follow-up plans. According to the Education Committee, the new quality assurance system for higher education must be monitored regularly and the government should review how higher education institutions can be compared to one another, and it proposes that the Swedish Parliament is to assign the government with the task of reviewing these issues.