Last week, higher education institutions, funding bodies and many other organisations submitted thier input to the government’s research policy from 2021 onwards (read our input here). Many interests are involved and a wide range of proposals are presented, everyone emphasises the issues that are most important to them, but there is broad agreement: investing in research and innovation is investing in Sweden’s future and a prerequisite for managing societal challenges. In addition, many emphasised the need for increased funding for the prerequisite for research – research infrastructure. Several major funding bodies highlight this in a joint submission, as does the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions on behalf of the country’s HEIs.
This past week was intensive, as always, with a diary full of meetings. On Tuesday, for example, there was a meeting of university leaders from the universities in Lärosäten Öst (Uppsala, Örebro, Mälardalen, SLU, Dalarna and Gävle). One result of our cooperation is that we are now starting joint leadership and management training. Then on Wednesday, the Vice-Chancellor took part in a panel discussion on academic freedom and collaboration with China, a topical and important subject that calls for continued discussion.
So much is happening at our University, it is impossible to talk about even a fraction of all the activities and involvements that fill every day. There is much to be proud of. This week, the University was named Erasmus+ Actor of the Year, the Uppsala Union of Engineering and Science Students organised the careers fair Utnarm, which this year is environmentally certified, and today the highly topical issue of the state of democracy in our society was discussed by researchers from various fields at a conference organised as part of the celebration by the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) of the breakthrough of democracy 100 years ago. That’s not so long ago and it’s important that we don’t take democracy for granted, it embodies important values that need to be defended and upheld every day.
Something else that happened this week that is worth noting is that 11,000 researchers united behind an article in the scholarly journal BioScience calling on decision-makers to act more resolutely in the climate issue. This attracted international attention, for example in The Guardian. Research is absolutely essential to the development of society, but political courage is also required to go beyond fine-sounding words and take the decisions that really lead to change.
Otherwise, this is a time of year when the darkness of November falls over the city, which makes it cheering to be able to enjoy Uppsala Light Festival, which this year features the University Library, Carolina Rediviva, as its main attraction. The light installation “Speak truth to power” is intended to illuminate freedom of speech, democracy and the open society.
Come and see it!