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News from the university management 29 April

On the management’s agenda

"Reinforce the industry around smart materials”

Something which is lacking today is “a new angle on what MAX IV and ESS can entail for Swedish industry and job opportunities. Currently, politicians see both facilities as pure research and education projects”, wrote Torbjörn von Schantz in his blog. He considers that there is enormous potential for an industry within smart materials, but achieving it requires the government to understand that MAX IV and ESS are also important for industry and for innovation. “Increased government support (beyond the Ministry of Education and Research) would make it easier for more companies to conduct development work at the research facilities”, wrote the vice-chancellor, who believes that the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation should allocate unused funding to venture capital for beamlines at MAX IV and the operation of ESS.

Unity crucial to the success of University Hospitals

The management of Skåne University Hospital has presented a proposal for a new university hospital in Skåne. The proposal would see Malmö and Lund hospitals becoming local hospitals while highly specialised healthcare would move to a new facility. The University management together with the Faculty of Medicine reacted strongly to this proposal in an opinion piece in Sydsvenskan daily newspaper. Torbjörn von Schantz blogged that “we are strongly critical to the idea of building a new hospital between Lund and Malmö and moving highly specialised activities there from the university hospitals of Lund and Malmö. Instead, we think that the best way forward would be to continue to develop the university hospitals in Malmö and Lund in close cooperation with Lund University, and the Faculty of Medicine in particular”.

Many scholarship recipients to Lund

LU has the highest percentage of successful applicants within the European Commission’s new Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility programme. Of the total number of mobilities approved in Sweden, LU was awarded 37.9 per cent. And out of 143 applicants to LU, 142 applications were approved (among both students and staff). In addition, the Swedish Council for Higher Education described LU’s application as “particularly well prepared” and will now use it as a best practice case, as Eva Wiberg wrote in her blog. LU has also been successful with regard to the scholarships from the Swedish Institute, with 37.6 per cent of the total number of scholarships. Out of 109 scholarship recipients, 41 will study a Master’s degree programme in Lund. Read more on this in the deputy vice-chancellor’s blog

The importance of the humanities is self-evident

“I believe that the solution to the major challenges of the future lies at the intersection between engineering, medicine and science on the one hand and social sciences, religion and humanities on the other. It is only when we succeed in combining the entire body of knowledge in our broad University that we can understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition. Therefore, all the parts are of equal importance”, wrote the vice-chancellor in his blog. Arguing that scientists, medics and engineers seldom have to defend their research in contrast to humanities scholars, Torbjörn von Schantz wrote that all parts of the University’s research are equally important and that the humanities subjects are “self-evident research subjects in an academy such as Lund University”.

Four areas to reinforce Skåne as a mobile region

FIRS, The Research and Innovation Council in Skåne (of which Torbjörn von Schantz is a member), has discussed the measures needed to reinforce Skåne as a mobile region, in particular after the spring lay-offs within the telecom sector. He presented the areas that are considered priorities together with leading representatives of Malmö, Region Skåne, Lund University and Malmö University in an opinion piece in the Sydsvenskan daily newspaper last week. The areas are the establishment of companies, new entrepreneurship, research and education and mobile health – also known as e-health.

First students’ address to the vice-chancellor for the new management

According to tradition, 1 May is the day for the students’ address to the vice-chancellor. The event begins at 12:20 when the Lund students’ standard-bearers leave the AF building with the flags of the student nations, moving in procession to the University building. On the steps, the students will meet the University management led by Torbjörn von Schantz; the president of LUS, Oscar Styf, will hold his annual speech to the vice-chancellor, who then replies to the students. On the eve of the event, on the last day of April, the students ceremonially don their white caps. This will take place on Tegnér’s square at 17:55 when the vice-president of the Lund University Students’ Unions (LUS), Sebastian Persson, will hold a speech celebrating spring.

LU news

University art displayed at the Museum of Public Art (Skissernas museum)

Until 2 August, the Museum of Public Art will be showing two exhibitions entitled “Changing landscapes – Lund University’s art collection” and “Galleri Pictura – Lean-to”. The Changing Landscapes exhibition displays a selection of works from Lund University’s art collection, from the 1400s to the present day, which have not been shown to the general public for a long time. The selection reflects the breadth of the collection, but also its principal focus on Swedish art from the 1800s and 1900s as well as Dutch painting from the 1600s. Meanwhile, the Galleri Pictura installation Lean-To by Jacob Hurtig and Simon Grahn Danielsson is on display in the museum’s sculpture park. Entry is free of charge for all students and LU employees (bring your LU card or student ID). Read more on the museum’s website

Great interest in studying in Lund

The number of applicants per place at Lund University is still very high. Approximately 71 500 people have registered for this autumn’s courses and programmes. Just over 31 000 of them gave Lund University as their first choice. After several years of steady increase in the number of applicants to LU, there has been a slight drop compared to the previous year, but the figures are still very high. The number of students admitted to international study programmes is also growing. Figures from the Swedish Council for Higher Education show that among all the higher education institutions in the country, LU easily has the highest number of admissions to the autumn’s Master’s degree programmes.

Debatt i Lund on increased sexualisation and moral panic 

Debatt i Lund will take place on 12 May, this time on the theme of “Sleeping around in Lund – or just holding hands?” The panel will discuss whether today’s youth enjoy the free love their grandmothers fought for in the 1960s. Increased sexualisation as a new form of coercion, moral panic and young people who want to preserve their innocence until they get married are other issues which will be raised.

Compete to write the best jubilee lyrics

A piece of music specially composed for the occasion will be performed during the 350th anniversary celebrations. Now a competition has been announced for the lyrics to this music. The winner will receive SEK 25 000. The competition is open to everyone. Hans Gefors, opera composer and former professor at the Academy of Music, Lund University, will write the music.Now we are looking for a text for the new composition for choir, orchestra and soloists. The idea is a text which can be set to music and sung, or recited and intermingled in the musical piece. Read more (pdf)

Time to register for Knowledge Week in Lund

Since 2007, LU and the municipality of Lund have organised an annual “Knowledge Week in Lund” which is mainly aimed at teachers. Now it is high time for all those interested to register for the event, which will take place on 16‒17 June. Read more about it here 

Higher education news

Dissatisfaction with education generates debate

American student Connie Dickinson paid tuition fees for her study programme in Sweden. She now wants her money back as she does not think that the study programme was of the quality promised and she has sued Mälardalen University, in a case supported by the Centre for Justice which has generated an intense debate, including on DN Debatt. Karin Röding, vice-chancellor of Mälardalen University, would like to see common rules for the country’s higher education institutions as there is currently no support in public authority legislation to pay back the tuition fees, even if a study programme were to be found wanting.

Many reactions to the Swedish National Union of Students’ demand to “end unqualified teaching”

The Swedish National Union of Students, SFS, released a report last week which stated that 60 per cent of the country’s higher education institutions do not guarantee that all their teachers have undergone training in teaching and learning. In the report, SFS demands an end to teaching by unqualified lecturers in higher education. One of many who reacted is the chair of SULF, the Swedish Association of University Teachers, Mats Ericson, who wrote that “the report has led to a lively discussion, and with good reason”; he considers that the conditions for further improving academic education need to be discussed. Currently these conditions vary, which he does not see as acceptable. He does not agree, however, with the claim that there are unqualified teachers.  Ludvig Sundin from LU’s social sciences students’ union considers that SFS acted without a mandate from the member unions. 

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