This post starts with something I believe is critically important for Swedish Research – Research Infrastructure and how we share the responsibility to secure that Swedish scientists get access to state of the art infrastructure. URFI (universities’ reference group on research infrastructures, originally installed as a reference group for the Swedish Research Council) has in the last few years developed into a very important actor with representatives from the large research universities with mandates to discuss and agree on issues related to research infrastructure. In line with its increasing importance, the group has during the spring been given a formal status by the Vice-Chancellors. KI is represented in the group by the Deputy Dean of Infrastructure, Stefan Eriksson.
Funds from KAW
The financing of MAX IV has been considered a large challenge in the sector. It is thus important that the research universities, via URFI, recently agreed on a model where they contribute 50 MSEK for operational costs 2019-2023 to match the generous funding provided by KAW. Earlier URFI had agreed on a model to finance the computer infrastructure SNIC . In both cases each universities’ financial contribution is related to (historical) use. Karolinska Institutet is not a large user of MAX IV or SNIC, and thus our financial contribution is modest, yet these infrastructures do provide important opportunities for some KI researchers with potential for a broader use in the future.
Meeting vice-chancellors in Hamburg
At the end of last week I attended the Hamburg Transnational University Leaders Council. About fifty vice-chancellors from research universities around the world were invited to discuss ”Differentiation in the post-secondary sector: A response to massification, competition, and the emergence of the global knowledge economy”. I presented in the session “Measuring quality, effectiveness and relevance in a differentiated system – How do universities know that they are performing well? How can they promote excellence in research and teaching based on their institutional mission and purpose?” One conclusion was that university rankings do not support differentiation. Do students select university based on ranking or much more practical aspects? In another session we discussed the meaning of academic freedom…… and the importance of academic responsibility.