Friday began with a specially convened meeting with local, regional and national-level Uppsala politicians. At the previous meeting, a wish was expressed to meet more often, and we were happy to agree to this. It’s good to have the opportunity to report the latest news from the University, whether successes or challenges, and the politicians asked good and relevant questions. They are keen to be involved and willing to lend their support where necessary. For example, we pointed out the importance of a long-term approach to research funding. Initiatives to support coronavirus-related research are extremely timely and welcome, but it’s important not to forget the need for ongoing broad investments to manage future challenges.
In more than one area, more frequent meetings are one obvious consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. It is essential to listen to one another in order to quickly identify appropriate measures. Currently, we have a closer dialogue with the Ministry of Education and Research and the Minister, which is positive and productive. To give one example, medical students’ insurance did not cover COVID-19 but this was quickly remedied, and our impression is that there is a receptiveness to our needs. Those of us in the University Management feel a similar need to put our ear to the ground and listen to what’s going on within our University.
We therefore ended the day with an informal Zoom meeting with heads of department. We have realised that virtual meetings are a model that has probably come to stay and will remain more common than previously. More people can participate and the meetings can be kept short and efficient. Our topic today was international students, an area where there are many questions. It’s good to be made aware of questions, even if we can’t answer them all, and it’s useful to get an up-to-date picture of the situation in the academic departments. We were able to give a reassuring answer on one point. The University stands on a stable financial foundation. Together, we will certainly be able later to deal with any extra costs that may arise this year.