(Original Swedish post published 3 May.)

I haven’t had time to read the evaluations, but many participants expressed their appreciation of the overnight conference of heads of department that we have just had. The positive comments were not solely attributable to the perfect early summer weather we enjoyed at the venue, Fagerudd.

On the first day, the department heads dived into the rules of procedure, in a session led by Lena Marcusson. Although the main focus was on the departments and the role of a head of department, many other questions also came up and I feel that the working group received a lot of sensible and intelligent input for their ongoing work. At the end of the day, Staffan Svärd looked back on his six years as a head of department in a rich and interesting presentation. We learned about ‘gegenpressing’ and embraced the advice: “Be calm and be yourself.”

The second day was about staff recruitment and development. Daniel Gillberg and Eliane Forsse started out by setting out the framework for staff recruitment and development plans and describing the recruitment, development and termination support available at Uppsala University. Åsa Kettis then talked about career support for young researchers. Magnus Öberg, Karin Forsberg Nilsson and Olof Karis gave us three examples of practice at department level. It’s striking how different – yet also how similar – things can be. I heard many positive comments over the two days on how important and rewarding it is to meet one another and exchange experiences, some heads of department are new and need to get to know their colleagues.

Back in Uppsala, I (Eva) and Vice-Rector Torsten Svensson met a group representing 12 Canadian universities on a study trip to Sweden and Finland. Anders Malmberg took care of a meeting with NCC, who are one of our strategic partners. The day’s work ended with this semester’s update meeting with the management of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). We discussed our cooperation – and noted that SLU will be 40 and UU 540 this year!

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