Report from the Strategy Seminar

Eystein 2The Strategy Seminar last week was informative and useful. Vice Dean for Research at Karolinska Institutet (KI) Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren gave an engaging talk about KI’s research strategy. Their starting point was to acknowledge that KI did not excel in medical research to the degree that KI thought themselves. Systematic bibliographic analyses of publication activity revealed that they had a strong position in Europe, but several universities with which they liked to be compared to, did better. KI defined as its goal to become as good as University of Oxford with regards to “impact” of publications. To reach this goal they decided to publish fewer, but better articles – in other words, more articles that bring significant new knowledge to the field and therefore reach the most prestigious journals. KI viewed their PhD-programs’ demand for 3-4 articles as an obstacle – “it is better to publish one high-impact article than 3-4 articles of lesser importance”. KI has now removed the demand for a minimum number of articles in PhD-theses. Furthermore, KI wishes to recruit active research leaders and now work very actively with recruitment of such persons. A “starting package” often is in the order of 10 million per year for 3-5 years. Such a package is often composed of both university- and external funding, but it should be noted that KI is in charge of the strategy and the evaluation of candidates. At the same time KI has a keen eye also on the groups who perform badly, and take action. Sometimes such groups merged with stronger groups, other times they are dismantled.

 ViceRector Anne Lise Fimreite talked about UiB’s strategy process. UiB aims to build up strong research clusters. One of these is called Health, and will focus on research related to health services (Samhandlingsreformen). The strategy document will soon be out on hearing, which gives you a chance to submit your views.

 Finally the Pharmaceutical Industry informed of their interest in increased interaction with academic institutions; they wish to establish a pilot center for such collaboration in Bergen. It will be exciting to learn more about this in the near future.

 Finally there was a workshop and discussion on the department’s organization. I expected both criticism and creative suggestions for changes, but it appeared that most people were satisfied with today’s organization. The discussion was rather tame, but one conclusion emerged – if K2 is to improve we have to collaborate better; everyone must contribute to do the work.

 Eystein Husebye

 Head of Department

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