Uppsala University, Sweden

Month: March 2017 (Page 2 of 2)

New guidelines for hire of university premises on the way and guidelines on students’ working conditions approved

(Original Swedish post here.)

Our guidelines on hiring university premises to outside parties are vague and need clarification. I am convinced many of us agree about this. I therefore raised the issue for discussion in the Management Council meeting yesterday, as I indicated I would last week, and Director of Building and Estate Services Peter Elenfalk has been instructed to draft new guidelines or a new policy. Further information about this is available (in Swedish) on the intranet (Medarbetarportalen).

The draft will be circulated internally for comment and several discussion sessions will be arranged. We hope that new guidelines can be in place at the beginning of the autumn term.

Today I approved Guidelines on first- and second-cycle students’ working conditions at Uppsala University (under the supervision of the President of the Student Union, as the picture shows). These guidelines apply from 1 July 2017. You will soon be able to find them on the intranet too.

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CEMFOR inauguration, Brexit and upcoming visits

(Original Swedish post published 5 March.)

It’s Sunday and I have a moment to look back at the past week and ahead at the week to come. On Friday we inaugurated CEMFOR – the Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism. Rarely does an initiative feel as relevant as this one. Six different faculties are behind the initiative, which is welcomed by researchers on racism throughout Sweden. A first national conference was held last autumn, on the theme: “What is research on racism and what are the challenges facing us?” This initiative is part of implementing our Research Strategies 2016–2020.

This week we took the opportunity to congratulate Lund University once again when they had a jubilee supplement in the newspaper Dagens Industri – you can see our message in the picture below. It reads as follows: “Dear Little Sister, On the occasion of the present 350th anniversary, we would like to convey to all the learned women and men of the famous University of Lund the hearty congratulations of our Royal University of Uppsala. With our warmest wishes, Your Big Sister (Now you are as old as our stables.)” We received a prompt reply in a fax addressed to “Dear Big Sister”, inviting us to various seminars and commenting that before long, we will be as old as their street! With a teasing attitude and a warm heart on both sides, we can both joke together and work together. Congratulations to Lund University on its 350th anniversary!

This week we met the other half of the people who will be chairing the Q&R17 panels and panel members chosen for their research on or other expertise in research environments. It was a useful afternoon – Anders Malmberg and his staff explained and discussed the design and purpose of this evaluation and how it differs from the more traditional research evaluations we have conducted previously. The full panels will be visiting us in May.

The programme for the coming week includes a visit from the Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool University to discuss augmented collaboration. Since the Brexit vote, we have seen increased interest in collaboration on the part of British universities. On Wednesday I will discuss this very issue at an IVA seminar entitled “Brexit – what will be the impact on research and higher education in the UK and Sweden?”  How are British higher education institutions preparing for life outside the EU?  What will the impact be on cooperation between higher education institutions in the UK and Sweden?

Tomorrow a group from the Liberal Party will be visiting us and on Tuesday the research funding body Forte will be here. These will be good opportunities to talk about research policy and future challenges. And last Friday we had a meeting with municipal leaders, as we do about twice a term. This time we talked about housing, a visit from Tartu, our joint project Esmeralda, and an upcoming study on a possible Science Centre. These kinds of dialogues are important for us.

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Visits from ambassadors and other news

(Original Swedish post published 1 March.)

Time flies and last week I didn’t have time to blog. Two of the highlights were visits from ambassadors. On Tuesday we had a visit from the German Ambassador, Dr Hans-Jürgen Heimsoeth. Germany is the country that sends most exchange programme students to Uppsala. During the last five years nearly one in ten incoming exchange students have come from Germany. German universities are also well represented in the Erasmus Mundus consortia in which Uppsala University participates. Uppsala University has 139 cooperation agreements with Germany; 46 of them involve exchanges of teaching staff and 93 student exchanges, two of which are university-wide. Uppsala University cooperates with 48 different higher education institutions. We have more far-reaching partnerships with two German universities in our networks: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (U4 and The Guild) and Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (Matariki and The Guild). Needless to say, the programme included a visit to the Department of Modern Languages and its German section.

The next ambassador last week came from South Africa: H.E. Faith Radebe visited Uppsala University in conjunction with a seminar arranged by the Forum for Africa Studies. It gave us a chance to provide information about our collaboration and ongoing and planned projects. INSPIRE is an Erasmus Mundus Action 2 project that has provided scholarships for students and researchers from South Africa for studies and exchanges in Europe. There has been a special focus on promoting innovation and enterprise. EMISHA is a capacity-building project funded by the EU that brings together nine universities from two continents to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in South Africa. Another development is an ongoing application to the STINT Sweden South Africa Collaboration project that resulted from the visit of vice-chancellors to South Africa just under a year ago. The Southern African–Nordic Centre (SANORD) was also discussed.

The rental of premises in the University’s Centre for Economic Sciences (Ekonomikum) attracted a good deal of attention on Tuesday and led to some criticism of the University’s rental rules. The University rents premises to external organisations when premises are available. Under the Higher Education Ordinance, student associations always have the right to book premises. With regard to political parties, the practice is that all parties represented in the Riksdag are treated equally. In this case, the University has followed current practice for rentals to external actors. However, we will take up procedures and guidelines for rentals at the next Management Council meeting. This seems all the more timely in view of the general elections next year.

Now I’m sitting on the train with Vice-Rector Stellan Sandler and University Director Katarina Bjelke – we’ve been visiting Örebro University to discuss potential areas of cooperation. Educational programmes for specialist nurses were particularly mentioned. Good if we can pull together in the region to better meet the needs for certain skills.

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