(Original Swedish post published 22 April.)

Whether or not it was a perfect overnight conference is a question for the heads of department to answer, not us, but the sign that greeted us on our arrival certainly raised our expectations. It read ‘Perfekt internat’. (As you may know, the Swedish word for ‘head of department’ is ‘prefekt’.) We have annual overnight conferences with our heads of department – it’s important and rewarding to meet across department, faculty and disciplinary domain lines to discuss shared challenges and to get to understand one another better. This semester’s overnight conference focused specifically on the role of head of department. We are conducting a pilot study to analyse the issue and Oskar Pettersson described how far that study has come. Three heads of department gave their views and reflections on the project. On the second day, we turned our attention to career support. Three heads of department gave us examples of the career support provided at their departments. This exchange of experience was widely appreciated. Uppsala University’s new model for career support was presented by Åsa Kettis and we then divided into groups to discuss what is needed in future and how we can best prepare teachers/researchers to be the academic leaders of tomorrow.

Back in Uppsala we met Uppsala University Postdoc Association. UUPA is a newly founded association for postdocs, an important group that is sometimes a little neglected. A good initiative!

Anders has left for Japan where he will take part in the opening in the presence of the King and Queen of Sweden and the Emperor and Empress of Japan of an exhibition of treasures from the University’s collections in Museum Gustavianum, which will be on show in Tokyo during the spring and summer. The exhibition is about the interplay between art and science in the 17th and 18th centuries. The focus is on three well-known Uppsala figures – Olof Rudbeck, Carl Linnaeus and Carl Peter Thunberg.

I (Eva) am sitting at Copenhagen Airport right now hoping to be in time for the Dag Hammarskjöld Lecture at Uppsala Castle later today. The speaker is UN Secretary-General H.E. António Guterres. The lecture begins at 17:00 and will be streamed live online (so if I’m not in time I can always watch it online).