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Newsletter from the University management 18 December

On the management’s agenda

“Openness – not the same as being a pushover”

Torbjörn von Schantz writes in his blog that he, in numerous contexts, has heard people say that the University is closing its doors to the outside world, and finds that you can either dismiss this view or try to understand the cause. “My reaction is twofold: I really want to try to understand why some or someone would say that the University is closing its doors, as these discussions are never brought to me directly. But I also want to take this moment to say that this does not correspond with what I hear in the discussions I participate in. And therefore, I am inclined to dismiss the criticism as idle gossip or, hopefully not, malicious chatter for personal gain”, he writes. The Vice-Chancellor emphasises that openness and collaboration are high priorities. He writes: “We cannot contribute to societal development on our own”, stressing that efforts are underway to make external engagement a permanent aspect of the University organisation.

Paving the way for more research collaboration with countries in Asia

The Swedish Academic Collaboration Forum (SACF) has organised two seminars in Singapore and Shanghai. A total of 13 researchers from seven faculties at LU participated. “The objective of the seminars was to increase Singapore’s and Shanghai’s knowledge of Swedish research and to facilitate meetings between leading researchers from the two countries”, writes Eva Wiberg in her blog. The aim is that this will generate both long and short term collaborations within subjects including materials science, an ageing population, sustainable development, urban planning and education. Read more on the deputy vice-chancellor’s blog 

Merry Christmas and thank you for your efforts this past year

“The year is coming to an end and the Christmas holidays and New Year’s celebrations are upon us. I want to begin by saying thank you for the year gone by! It has been an amazing year, not least for me personally, by meeting so many and interesting people to discuss research, education and world issues with. I am truly impressed by all staff and students that make the University into a boiling pot of ideas and knowledge”, writes Torbjörn von Schantz in his blog. Next year, the strategic work for ensuring stability also in the future will continue, which will include the development of a new strategic plan, and a decision on how the teacher training programme is to be organised. “We will also be looking back as we start to celebrate our 350th anniversary. I’m really looking forward to 2016!”, writes the Vice-Chancellor.

… as we leave a turbulent year behind

“While we have had a successful year, the situation around the world has been all the more turbulent. We have seen human suffering up close, and we have seen how war, terror, and threats spread fear in people. It worries me if we in Europe and Sweden were to close our borders, bridges and doors to the outside world”, writes the Vice-Chancellor in his blog. He thinks this would be devastating for people in need, but also for a nation like Sweden and a university like LU. “Our entire organisation is based on openness and mobility of people and ideas. So I hope we have the ability to take advantage of the expertise that comes to our country and that together we can find a good solution for those who come here”, he writes.

LU news

The University establishes a risk committee

The decision to establish a risk committee was taken at the most recent meeting of the University Board. The board has the overall responsibility for internal governance and control, and is therefore also responsible for ensuring that the University has an appropriate risk management process. After the Internal Audit Office proposed that changes be made to the process, the board decided to set up a risk committee that is tasked with ensuring that the process for internal governance and control is effective and reliable. The committee consists of four–five members of the University Board, two of whom will serve as chair and student representative. The committee will also include a representative for the staff organisations.

What does Lund University do for refugees?

The latest issue of LUM addresses various aspects of what LU is doing to help refugees. It discusses what a regulated government authority can and is permitted to do, provides examples of individual staff members who have become active in the work, and presents projects intended to help newly arrived academics. At the same time, some people have criticised LU for not doing enough.

The winners of the Administrative Prize have been nominated

Administrative manager Sara Novakov at the faculty office of the School of Economics and Management, and caretakers Claes Lawett and Lars-Göran Stjärnfeldt at LU Service will receive the Lund University Administrative Prize 2016. The prize will be presented to them at the University’s annual ceremony on 29 January 2016. Read more on the Staff Pages 

Higher education news

“Ministerial government rule or scientocracy?”

New members of the boards of Formas and Fortes, as well as of the board and scientific councils of the Swedish Research Council, were recently appointed. The majority of them were elected by the research community. In Sweden’s neighbouring countries, such members are appointed by ministers and other government representatives. The pros and cons of these two methods are discussed in an article in the journal Curie.

“Disappointing proposal from the government”

When the current government was in opposition they promised to crack down on the abuse of fixed-term appointments. But according to the head of negotiations at the Swedish Association of University Teachers (SULF) Robert Andersson, the recently submitted government bill on this issue is a watered-down and insufficient proposal, which he expresses in an article in Universitetsläraren. The government’s new proposal is that fixed-term appointments amounting to two years within a five-year period are to be turned into permanent positions under the Public Employment Act, as long as the period is a continuous sequence of general fixed-term, seasonal and substitute appointments. “It will have no effect whatsoever within higher education institutions”, Robert Andersson says in the article, and stresses that SULF cannot find any measure that would affect “the practically unlimited possibilities of stacking fixed-term appointments on top of each other”.

“Future research must be multidisciplinary”

The global challenges of today require innovative research initiatives and improved external engagement. “To more clearly meet society’s needs, future research must be multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral. Incentives must be created for better dialogue between researchers and various societal actors so that the results can be useful and more quickly turned into practice and government policy”, writes the  director general of Forte Ewa Ställdal in an opinion piece in Curie. She believes that forceful measures need to be taken to reduce the time spent between research and practice. She therefore suggests that the upcoming government research bill include “increased investments to establish multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral programmes within prioritised areas of society: Consequences of the demographic development, changes in working life, quality and organisation of welfare systems, migration, and equal living conditions and health”.

 

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