As we find ourselves back at the University, we hope you had a pleasant and relaxing holiday season with your loved ones, and that it feels good to return to work.

One of the first decisions of the year was Uppsala University’s response to the FOKUS referral, the proposed national research evaluation in Sweden. Our response is a clear no to this evaluation, for reasons of principle, quality and efficiency. The system would undermine the autonomy of Swedish universities in quality issues, and be of limited value as a basis for quality work and research renewal, as well as a costly and inefficient system for resource allocation.

SUHF’s (The Association of Swedish Higher Education) group of experts for questions of internationalisation, which counts Eva among their ranks, has held several all-day meetings. The chief issues discussed by the group are those of migration and scholarships, as well as the need for rule changes that provide increased autonomy to public universities. The group discusses obstacles to establishing campuses abroad. It is a good thing that SUHF has appointed this group; these issues are not new, and it is high time that they be dealt with in a conclusive manner.

Anders travelled to Gotland to participate in a conference that approximately translates to ‘92 opportunities for all of Gotland to grow’. The 92 opportunities refer to the number of parishes on the island. The theme was growth, with a focus on beneficial collaborations. Anders spoke of the role of the University in the growth of regions. 300 people showed up for what turned out to be an inspiring day. It is thrilling to see that Uppsala University has found a second home region, with a unique set of challenges.

As a wrap up to last week, the University gave 4781 new students a warm welcome and hopefully a good start to their studies here. The beginning of each semester always causes a surge in the demand for housing. If you have accommodation or a spare room to sublet, please do so. Although the demand is usually somewhat smaller in the spring semester than in the autumn, every little bit helps.

One of the groups interested in helping us in various ways is the Friends of Uppsala University. We are pleased to report that the Friends are growing more numerous. At the annual Vice-Chancellor meeting with the Friends, we were treated to fantastic research presentations by Mia Philipsson, Isak Svensson and Maria Tenje. Become a member today!

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