Monday this week, I joined the professors’ collegium which included a discussion on collegiality. Collegial – peer review – assessment (internal and external) of quality and collegial decisions on funding are fundamental aspects of the universities’ core activities, and I believe that collegiality is a strong asset for the university, and one of the most important factors for ensuring quality in research and education. A university without collegial presence, input and influence face a risk to stagnate with regard to development of core activities. However, a functioning collegiality relies on a strong engagement in the universities’ activities and long term development, as well as harmonization of mandate and responsibilities. The professors’ collegium has a very important role in contributing to these discussions, but also in other areas such as development of academic environments and how we assess research quality. These issues were also brought up at the meeting Monday.
Meeting representatives of all Swedish higher education institutions
Yesterday, Thursday, I joined the general assembly of the Association of Swedish Higher Education (Sveriges universitet- och högskoleförbund, SUHF) in Örebro with vice-chancellors and university directors from all 37 universities and university colleges in Sweden. The Association aims at promoting sector interests to external actors and at strengthening internal cooperation. Topics that were discussed included how we can work together and find solutions for open access publication and for the increasing demands of data storage, both being increasingly resource intensive. We also discussed the European Spallation Source (ESS), the multi-disciplinary research centre based in Lund. ESS will directly and indirectly influence strategic decision at universities and university colleges. To make optimal use of the resource ESS, the sector will need to invest in education, research and technology development in areas that can explore ESS, potentially at the cost of other research areas. Finally we got an up-date from Margaretha Fahlgren, who has been appointed by the government to propose new ways of handling research misconduct and associated matters. A highly timely, but very difficult, topic.
I believe that it is important for us to take an active part in the Association of Higher Education Institutions and also more generally in other arenas dealing with discussions that are important for our sector, not least from our unique position as a leading medical university that acts on the international arena.