Towards an even better Karolinska Institutet

Published: 2016-02-22

Dear Colleagues, co-workers and students,

I have now been entrusted with the leadership of Karolinska Institutet until a permanent Vice-Chancellor has been recruited. During this time, I will use this blog as one means of communicating with you.

The resignation of professor Anders Hamsten as Vice-Chancellor of our internationally renowned university, represents the most recent in a chain of negative developments caused by recent revelations and accusations about the activities of Paolo Macchiarini at Karolinska Institutet and elsewhere. Read more at ki.se (in Swedish) and ki.se/en (in English).

Now it is time for us to take actions that will allow us to understand our mistakes and learn the lessons they teach us. As part of this work, we need to openly, humbly and critically evaluate what we do and how we do it.

At the same time, after darkness comes light and we must with cool heads focus our efforts on restoring light to the future path of our university. The negative events of the past weeks must not be allowed to obscure the high quality work in research and education performed by the vast majority of our personnel. Under my leadership we will unceasingly strive to re-establish Karolinska Institutet’s good reputation both internally, among staff and students, as well as nationally and internationally.

We need to take wise decisions and actions that will allow us to leave the present difficulties behind us. In this way Karolinska Institutet will emerge stronger from its present difficulties with improved prospects for tackling future challenges. I am certain that, by working together, we will achieve these goals.

And both our board as well as the university managment have initiated several measures:

  • An independent investigation into the handling of the Macchiarini affair. At an extra meeting of the University Board, 9 February, it was decided that an independent, external investigation of how KI has handled the questions arising from the Machiarini affair will be carried out. The investigation is headed by the prominent lawyer, Sten Heckscher, and it is an expressed wish that the investigation be completed before summer if possible.
  • Review of the recruitment process, in particular all aspects associated with recruitment of guest researchers with professional activities outside KI. The review will recommend actions to ensure better evaluation of applicants’ CV.
  • Review of the process of secondary occupations – “bisysslor” – with the aim of clarifying that secondary occupations abroad are performed according to the same ethical standards as those that apply at KI.
  • Improved support to international researchers. This will involve administrative support to internationally recruited researchers who are initially unfamiliar with Swedish laws and regulations in relation to research and Healthcare.
  • Review of delegation rules to determine whether we need to clarify where responsibilities for various decisions in our organisation lies.
  • The case of suspected scientific misconduct, related to Paulo Machiarini, will be submitted for evaluation to the Central Ethical Review Board and its Group of experts on scientific misconduct for their assessment.

 

I am starting this blog not only to be clear and transparent about how we now will resolutely work to restore our trust, but also to remind us about what Karolinska Institutet really is; All the fantastic people that work together towards our vision – to significantly contribute to the improvement of human health.

14 comments

Ulrika Axelsson

Ulrika Axelsson

Stort lycka till Karin! Ulrika Axelsson, PhD (Tidigare Karl Ekwalls grupp)

Md. Shahidul Islam

Md. Shahidul Islam

It is a common mistake to see what is obvious, and miss or overlook what is less obvious. Right now, media has made a few things obvious to us and to the world. I am afraid, preoccupation with this obvious thing may hinder attention to other important issues that need urgent attention. The big question, for instance, is who is next? How can we identify suspected irregularities in research before people die, media starts a huge campaign, or something serious happens? Why should Karolinska Institutet give huge amount of research money to a few so called elite or star scientints instead of spending the money for supporting the research group leaders who have been working in the KI for decades, who take salary from their own grants, and who are risking losing their jobbs because of uncertainity of success in obtaining external funding? I wish the leadership of the KI looks at the root problems (which are actually mentioned in several debate articles published in the Swedish news papers) and takes necessary steps to solve those problems to avoid future incidences of the type that we are dealing with now.

Pratap Chatterjee

Pratap Chatterjee

So good to see a blog talking about the current issues being raised.

jörgen larsson

jörgen larsson

Läste just Din ledare i KI-bladet. Utmärkt bra och balanserad - ödmjukhet inför den aktuella situationen och en offensiv inställning baserad på KI:s många starka sidor.

Lena Lewin

Lena Lewin

Great initiative! Don't forget to blog!

Sharif Hasni

Sharif Hasni

Congratulations for taking responsibility of tuff job. Best wishes

Johannes Wilbertz

Johannes Wilbertz

Dear Karin, I wish you all the best for your tough job! Best, Johannes

Seppo Koskinen

Seppo Koskinen

I really hope that this will work out without an added load of bureaucracy in everyday research.

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