COLUMN. The profile area developed by Sahlgrenska Academy has been well received during the University’s ongoing discussions. Dean Agneta Holmäng discusses this in today’s column. She also provides an update on the ALF evaluation, which should be ready within a few months.
I want to start by congratulating each of you who has just found out that you have received a grant from the Swedish Research Council. We all know that the competition for these grants is fierce, and the faculty shares the joy that the recipients are feeling right now.
This year saw fewer applicants, which meant that we did not receive as much funding as last year. The grants are generally for three to four years, which means that in some years there are not as many applications by previous recipients for new grants. If you divide granted funds by the number of researchers who apply, the medical faculties in the country are about the same, including Karolinska Institutet.
For those who did not receive a grant, now is the time to step back and consider what adjustments are necessary for the next time. Feel free to use the available support in the form of analysis, training and advice at various levels within the University before the next call for proposals.
Work with our profile areas has been discussed in the Vice-Chancellor’s Management Council, after review by the University of Gothenburg’s advisory board of international experts and the faculties’ own priorities. Our proposal has been very well received, with some suggestions for improvements that could further strengthen this profile area. Most likely, our proposal, Diseases of Aging and Developing Therapy, will be included in the five areas that the University prioritizes in its application to the Swedish Research Council. However, the official decision will take time since the Vice-Chancellor wants to wait for the new government’s budget bill and what position is taken about the profile areas initiative.
The work with the profile area will be discussed at our general Academy meeting on November 16, and we hope that the formal Vice-Chancellor’s decision will have been made by then. At this meeting, we will also address relevant questions and information about our construction projects.
The ALF evaluation is a learning process
The final interviews in the extensive national ALF evaluation of our clinical research are now complete, and we are satisfied with how the panel hearings went. For the self-evaluation, many employees have put in significant effort during this long process of describing what is needed for our research, organization and infrastructure. This important work allows us to shine a light on our strengths but also on what we can improve.
In the last evaluation in 2018, we were ranked best in the country, but the evaluators also identified areas needing improvement. We have had a clear focus as we worked actively and strategically with these areas. This has helped us improve the potential for such areas as our register research.
The ALF evaluation is a learning process, but it also involves a lot of work. The Director of R&D for Region Västra Götaland Jan Kilhamn and I plan to address this issue in the national ALF steering group and ask whether we should really do an equally extensive evaluation again in three years. The results of the evaluation must be reported to the government by March 31, 2023. Regardless of the outcome, we have done our very best.
A festive afternoon and evening
The pandemic stopped the University’s traditional academic festivities, but we are now beginning to catch up. Ninety-five new doctors, who completed their dissertations between June 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, were awarded their doctorates on October 28. It was wonderful to see all the new doctors and to feel pride and be impressed with the great work they put into their dissertations.
It was a festive afternoon and evening, where our honorary doctor, Carolina Klüft, gave the dinner speech as the representative of all new honorary doctors. It was a very good and relevant speech, where she highlighted how important collaboration with universities is for her in her role as secretary-general of Generation Pep. In this role, she works to ensure that children and youth can be physically active and have a healthy life. Carolina’s efforts to inspire an active lifestyle also support Sahlgrenska Academy’s research focus on preventing ill health with physical activity and help us put our research into practice.
I hope each of you can enjoy our lovely autumn colors.