Each year, when approaching the formal start of the autumn term at Karolinska Institutet, I am filled with excitement and joy. But this time also with a touch of sadness. In spring 2023, my appointment as president of KI will expire after more than five intense, inspiring, and challenging years. But now is not the time to dwell on that. Instead, let us look forward to the new term that awaits.
We have a rather special term ahead. First and foremost, we find ourselves in a kind of super election year. The Swedish election is coming up shortly. Election Day is September 11th and based on opinion polls it is impossible to predict how the government will look like over the four years to come.
Followed with great interest
At KI and other universities, the conditions under which we work are very much in the hands of our political decision makers. Thus, what happens on September 11th and beyond will be followed with great interest here at KI. Regardless of outcome, we do hope that the decision makers will be duly attentive to the essentiality of research and higher education.
If there was ever any doubt as to what universities are good for, look to what has happened during the current COVID-19 pandemic. In an unprecedented collaborative effort between science and industry, vaccines were developed at warp speed and treatments were developed and improved in record time. The lesson learned is that research and education are at the core of societal resilience and preparedness.
In this context we should pride ourselves of the excellent contributions of KI scientists. According to an analysis hot off the press, KI is ranked number eight among organizations with the most published articles on COVID-19 and immune response. Congrats to all scientists and staff involved!
Back to elections: On an entirely different scale, there is an intense election process also at KI. It is crucial that as many as possible take part in this. Please read more about the academic elections on KI’s website.
The pandemic is not over
When I return to my welcome blog of last year, I can state that most points apply even today. The pandemic is not over. We need to be prepared for new outbreaks and be prepared to quickly adjust internal routines accordingly. As before, students and staff must act responsibly and comply with current recommendations and restrictions concerning COVID-19.
Unfortunately, the new term will be influenced by the war in Ukraine. At KI we should continue to support those impacted and victimized by this war by all possible means. Our Center for Health Crises plays an important role in this context, but we can all contribute in various ways. Our web page on the war is regularly updated.
Make a difference
When we now embark on a new term, it is with a great deal of challenges but also with an opportunity to make a difference. Our vision “We are advancing knowledge about life and strive towards better health to all” will continue to inspire. A heartfelt welcome to all new and returning students, researchers, and staff to Karolinska Institutet!
Ps. Do not forget to regularly check KI’s website and the updated information to staff and students regarding COVID-19.