COLUMN. In her first column for the semester, Dean Agneta Holmäng notes that we have an exciting, if challenging, autumn ahead of us.
I’d like to start by welcoming everyone back. I hope you have had the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful summer and recharge your batteries.
I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome all our students, both new and returning, back, and send a special greeting to those who are beginning the new medical program. Our teachers have put in a great deal of excellent work in preparing the new program and we are all looking forward to the start of the semester!
Still focused on gradually increasing the physical presence in the workplace
We are all looking forward to campus once again being filled with activity and life, while also being aware that the pandemic is not yet over. The vice-chancellor’s policy decision this summer offered two scenarios for how the return to campus might take place based on the restrictions defined by the Government and with support from the Public Health Agency of Sweden. We are still focused on gradually increasing the physical presence in the workplace this autumn, and your most immediate supervisor will decide what strategy to use to best meet the needs of the organization and staff. Unfortunately, the increasing spread of infection both in Europe and in Sweden is cause for concern and may affect how quickly we can return to campus.
Our new Faculty Board is now beginning its work. In September, the entire faculty management, heads of department and vice deans will come together for a wide-ranging meeting. We will discuss how the new board wants to work and what issues to focus on in the board’s coming term.
The basis for the University’s application for strategic research funding
An important question up for discussion during the autumn, both by heads of departments and by our board, is determining which the high-profile specializations the University will focus on. These will be the basis for the University’s application for strategic research funding. State sources of research funding, under the coordination of the Swedish Research Council, have been tasked by the Government to develop a new quality-based funding allocation model for part of the direct government funding to higher education institutions. Initially, only about SEK 500 million will be allocated among the country’s higher education institutions, but this amount will increase. In a column this spring, I described criticisms of the model. I, along with many others, see a risk of conflicts between our and other broad-based universities when a few strategic areas are to be selected. There are also some particularly interesting research domains that many higher education institutions will want to include in their profile areas and there is national competition for these. I feel it is important to take a broad approach so that we get as much from our research as possible.
This process of formulating the University of Gothenburg’s strategic high-profile specializations began in June when the institutions were tasked with submitting proposals to the faculty. We will be studying these in several faculty organizations. At the faculty, the issue is being dealt with by the Faculty Board, the Council for Research (FOR) and the Heads of Departments’ Council, and at university level by the Central Research Council, in collaboration with the University Management and University’s International Advisory Board. At the beginning of next year, the University of Gothenburg will then apply for a total of five strategic research domains, where we hope that several will relate to Sahlgrenska Academy’s research domains.
I would like to thank our reference groups for their excellent and hard work
This autumn, the large construction project Sahlgrenska Life will move into the planning documentation phase. I would like to thank our reference groups for their excellent and hard work reviewing the project brief. Efforts will continue to be needed since intensive work is required as the project moves into the next phase. In connection with this, we will also find out the indicative and preliminary rent levels for facilities.
New webpage on research ethics was published just before the summer break
We are now preparing an exciting exhibition in Academicum about our Nobel Laureate Arvid Carlsson. His research was significant and groundbreaking, so it is wonderful to be able to highlight it in this way. The exhibition will also be an excellent starting point for the faculty’s work to increase donations and other external research funding.
Last, but not least, I would like to remind you about our new webpage on research ethics that was published just before the summer break. This page provides very important and much sought-after information regarding the increasingly complex area of ethics for both experimental and clinical research.
My thanks to you all.
Agneta Holmäng, Dean