The Management Council has just landed on the West Coast of the United States. About once a year we broaden our international outlook together. Last year we stayed in Europe and visited universities in Germany and Switzerland. Previously, we have visited our neighbours – the universities in Helsinki, Copenhagen, Tartu and Oslo. This time we’re travelling far to the west.
For a university that wants to strengthen its position, international contacts are essential. Uppsala University cooperates with several of the world’s top universities. Now we’re going to visit some of them: Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA and the University of Washington. We’re looking to enhance our cooperation in both teaching and research. We’ll be presenting our new visiting professors programme and renewing and reinforcing exchange programmes for undergraduates and doctoral students.
We hope to develop new cooperation in some of the areas we emphasise in our research strategies, such as migration and energy. But we’ll also focus on some of our other strengths, such as political science, law, and innovation and external collaboration. So for example, this time we also have representatives from the Faculty of Law and the Department of Government with us for parts of the trip. The agenda for our meetings also includes the role of universities in society in a new political reality, as well as governance, management, collaboration and innovation.
The United States is prioritised in the University’s international strategy. We have much in common but also major differences. It is always instructive and inspiring to see how other universities work. To be inspired by one another, discuss with one another, learn from one another, reflect together. We have had thorough briefing material and other reading matter to prepare us for the journey. This has included texts from Lars Engwall, Mats Brenner and Anna Ledin, and reports from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.
We have a very busy schedule – when we travel so far we want to use the time well. We will be visiting Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle in five days. Some points on the programme involve us all, but there will also be meetings in different constellations at each university. For example, the political scientists will meet political scientists at Berkeley, the medical scientists will meet medical scientists, and the university management will meet university managers.
At each place we are visiting we are organising meetings with alumni and friends of Uppsala University, four events in all. These will include seminars on migration, energy and innovation systems. Professor Dag Blanck and Professor Kristina Edström will be among those participating. We have had an active alumni association in San Francisco for several years, and we are particularly looking forward to meeting them.
We will also visit the Bill and Melinda Gates think tank. They are working for a better world and have many activities related to global health and innovative technology. These issues are close to Uppsala University’s fundamental values – for a better world. It’s going to be very exciting.
I am still Vice-Chancellor even when we are out travelling. But if anyone needs to act as Vice-Chancellor and head of the University while the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and I are away, Professor Anna Singer is acting Vice-Chancellor in Uppsala and Per Abrahamsson is acting University Director.
If you want to follow our trip you can do so here on the blog, which I will share with a few guest bloggers, and on the University’s Instagram account. /Eva