Yesterday, Anders Gustafsson, Bob Harris and myself met the participants of the research group leader course on the final day of their programme.
It was very interesting and rewarding to try to address their often challenging and clearly highly relevant questions and hopefully we brought some clarity on some issues. We certainly got comments, questions and ideas that we need to bring with us in the work to come as Strategy 2030 is translated into concrete actions.
As I entered the room I got immediately hit by a question about KIs new organization, what does it look like and how does it work? We can draw it on a paper but there are clearly aspects that needs to be further developed. It is very important that everyone understands our organization as relevant for them. Where, by whom and on which grounds are decisions taken? Where can I influence? Which are my elected representatives?
We then went on to talk about the important predictability, what can I expect in terms of career? In strategy 2030 we emphasize predictable career paths which in practice means greater sizing at the different career levels, a difficult but necessary development. It also implies a clarification of the scientific and pedagogical merits needed to advance within KI. We should aim at giving those that we have recruited the very best conditions to reach their full potential.
This brought us into a discussion on differences between KI departments. KI departments are diverse, and the diversity might be contributing to our success. However, this can also create confusion and potentially tension as for example measures of resource allocation are compared between departments.
Finally we talked about equal opportunities – There must be good opportunities to make a career at KI for both women and men. KI has to be an attractive, competitive employer that both attracts and retains people irrespective of gender. In this particular course, the gender balance was very good. I hope this will remain as these individuals progress along their career. We do not believe in short-term recruitment goals at professor levels but instead in a long-term, continuous efforts starting at the young group leaders. Equal opportunities extends to individuals whether from KI or any part of the world.
I wish all the now trained research group leaders good luck in their future careers and I am grateful to the organizers of this popular and important course!