News from the University Management 30 June
On the management’s agenda
Changes in management team and board
The process of appointing a new deputy vice-chancellor to succeed Eva Wiberg has been extended. The University Board has decided to appoint Stacey Ristinmaa Sörensen to the position until the end of 2017, or until a new deputy vice-chancellor is in place. During the autumn, the work will be divided up between different members of the management team, and Bo-Anders Jönsson will somewhat increase the scope of his work as pro vice-chancellor. The new members of the University Board are also in place, and it has now been decided that Anna Stellinger will assume the position of vice-chair of the board.
“Allow higher education institutions to strive to maintain the highest quality”
Torbjörn von Schantz has “reason to reflect on what the Government actually thinks is included in the duties and mandate of a vice-chancellor. Despite the reform to increase autonomy, which has given universities greater freedom to determine their own organisation, the Government has recently interfered in decisions that should be left to the universities themselves”, he writes in his blog. A while ago, the Government interfered with Dalarna University’s planned relocation of two campuses, and has now moved on to the Blekinge Institute of Technology. “It shouldn’t be a university’s duty to help increase voter support in small towns, or to become regional policy pawns for increased employment. What is needed to promote a region is a powerful higher education institution with the conditions it needs to make strategic decisions and the opportunity to conduct high-quality education and research, not the other way around – a toothless and eroded organisation”, writes the vice-chancellor.
Gender mainstreaming in the recruitment process
“There was a large turnout and very interesting discussions when we recently met with deans and all academic appointment boards at LU to jointly agree on how we can work with gender mainstreaming in our recruitment processes”, writes Torbjörn von Schantz in his blog. He argues that attracting the best applicants to our teaching positions is fundamental for the University’s development. “There is a great need to discuss experiences and choices in recruitment work and to share examples of best practice. The faculties apply different practices, and we will continue these meetings, which I find very rewarding and believe will contribute greatly to the development of the University’s recruitment”, writes the vice-chancellor.
Six external engagement themes have been awarded funding
It has now been decided which six themes will receive funding for thematic external engagement initiatives. The projects will receive SEK 500 000 a year for three years, with the possibility of a two-year extension. The idea is to use central funds to support initiatives which focus on solving societal challenges. “The External Engagement Council received 30 applications and all proposed projects have been really good!”, writes the vice-chancellor in his blog.
“In search of the framework programme to come”
Torbjörn von Schantz recently visited Brussels for a meeting with Swedish university vice-chancellors, EU MPs, the permanent representation of Sweden to the EU, LERU representatives and others. Right now, there is a lot of activity concerning what will happen after the Horizon 2020 framework programme has ended. Many people want to be involved in determining the content and focus of the new FP9 framework programme. “Although most people – both within the university sector, as well as EU politicians and officials – seem truly pleased with Horizon 2020, there is a major problem: Horizon 2020 is underfinanced and is not capable of handling all of the high-quality applications it receives. Only 25 per cent of the highest quality applications receive funding”, writes the vice-chancellor in his blog. Many in the EU would like to see the links between research and innovation strengthened. “This simplified view of the university’s role worries me, and I see a big danger in the one-sided mindset that is expressed. If innovations are allowed to drive basic research, the research will be depleted in the long term, and can no longer be at the front line and contribute to innovations – thus making them counterproductive”, argues Torbjörn von Schantz.
Almedalen week is about to begin
On Sunday, the annual political week in Almedalen will commence and, as usual, a large number of researchers from Lund University will be there to attend LU’s own events and as experts in discussions and debates organised by others. Furthermore, it is once again time for the Science Slam competition, in which Lund researchers compete against their colleagues at Malmö University.
Student and staff party on 15 September
To celebrate its 350th anniversary, Lund University invites students and staff to a major party in Lundagård park on 15 September. There are 7 000 places – first come, first served. Read more and register here
Higher education news
“More confidence in researchers than in universities”
Vetenskap & Allmänhet (Science & Society) has published a report on the results from the SOM (Society, Opinion, Media) Institute’s survey, which shows that 55 per cent of the Swedish population have high or fairly high confidence in higher education institutions. The corresponding figure for researchers is just over 70 per cent. The public authority which received the highest level of confidence was healthcare, followed by higher education institutions, followed by radio and television.
More teaching should be conducted in English
The Nordic Council of Ministers argues that more teaching should be conducted in English at Nordic higher education institutions, in order to increase the students’ employability on a global labour market and their chances to study and conduct research in an international context, writes the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) in its international newsletter. To achieve this, the council has proposed 11 measures.
“What will happen to visiting researchers after Brexit?”
“The UK has been very successful in competing for research funding from the EU. During the period 2007–2015, the country received almost one third of the funds awarded by the European Research Council. Many British researchers are worried about what Brexit will mean; not least with regard to what the situation will be like for visiting researchers and those accompanying them, after the country has left the EU”, writes the online magazine, Tidningen Curie. The way forward is largely about finding alternative ways to extend the strong cooperation between the UK and various EU countries. However, it is still unclear how this is to be done.