One of the overarching objectives in our new strategy – Strategy 2030 – says that KI should be a university “characterized by pedagogical creativity and innovation”. We also promise to “explore new learning processes”. These are high ambitions that now motivate our new and prestigious fellowship program in medical education.

The KIPRIME Research Fellows program engages 14 fellows from 11 different countries as well as three former KIPRIME laureates. KIPRIME is an acronym for Karolinska Institutet’s Prize for Medical Education. I am happy to see that KIPRIME now develops into a fellowship program with dedicated and highly qualified participants from all over the world. Our aim is to build a global community within the realm of medical education.

Gunnar Höglund and Anna-Stina Malmborg Foundation

KI alumnus, and our generous benefactor, the late Dr. Gunnar Höglund, reminded us through his deep engagement and generous donation that “education is fundamental – from basic subject knowledge to skills, attitudes, and patient care. While education is one of the most important tasks of the university, too little research is being devoted to improving medical education.”

And he pointed out many times that like other areas of ​​medicine, medical education should be evidence based and grounded in high-quality research.

KI strengthens medical education

This program is just one example of how KI is working to strengthen medical education.

Other examples include our ongoing recruitment of seven new professors who should help couple educational expertise to excellent research. This initiative aims to better integrate research into our educational activities and to open up a career path for employees who want to devote themselves to both education and research.

We are also working to strengthen interprofessional learning in the classroom and in clinical education. If students are trained to learn together, they will be better prepared to work and treat patients together.

These efforts supplement our annual educational conference and our pedagogics courses and awards that are designed to inspire and to strengthen skills and recognize excellence among our educators.

Preparing students for global challenges

It is a matter of urgency that we now rethink the very nature of our institutions of higher education. We need to successfully prepare our students to take on today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. These challenges are formidable and force us to see health in a broader context than ever before.

The United Nations Agenda 2030, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is an excellent point of departure. These goals underscore our collective responsibility and inspire us to envision a new role for universities in achieving better health and wellbeing for all.

We arranged a full-day conference on this topic last March with students, teachers, curriculum-developers, and academic program directors from numerous disciplines and universities. We discussed how higher education institutions could make headway in incorporating the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals in curricula and programs. The complexity and interconnectedness of the SDGs will require a high level of competence among future decision- and change-makers. There is a need for increased collaboration across disciplines, between universities, and with other actors in society. Simply put, universities should stay faithful to their role as key agents of change.

A follow-up conference on this theme will be held in Gothenburg in March 2020, with satellite meetings taking place around the country. We hope that conferences on SDGs in higher education will be held on an annual basis, rotating between Swedish universities.

Commitment and engagement

Yesterday, during my welcome address to the new KIPRIME fellows, I sensed their deep commitment and engagement. By bringing together researchers from a range of different disciplines and backgrounds we get the richness of perspectives that is the recipe for new ideas and approaches.

To our KIPRIME fellows: the best of luck in your future endeavors. Perhaps I will meet some of you again, as future KIPRIME laureates?

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