We are unfortunately heading into a time of a new financial everyday life. There will be permanent cuts in the basic allocation to our faculty. The framework for the basic allocation for 2021 was 718 MNOK. The reduction in the framework for the faculty from and including 2022 is as much as 50 MNOK.
The reasons for this significant cut are many. A main cause is the reorganization of the pension calculation, which is determined by KUD. In addition, KUD has reduced the allocation to the universities as part of the reorganization of the financial systems and the expectation of streamlining. In addition, there will be increased expenses for UiB due to increased room rent and expected savings due to more use of open access. The faculty takes a large part of the 50 MNOK, but the departments still get a significant cut. This is calculated on the basis of the size of the basic grant, and for some of the amounts this includes BOA. Since K2 is the largest department, we get the biggest cut, twice as much as the other departments. The amount is stipulated to be 6.3 MNOK per year.
Political efforts are being made through various channels to reduce the cuts from KUD. We can hope that this reverses a part of it, but it will still be a new economic everyday life for all universities in Norway.
What to do with this? We must increase revenues and reduce costs by a similar amount. Is this possible? Yes, I think so, but it will be demanding, and everyone must contribute. A main goal is that we should not revoke positions. We will nevertheless increase research, education, innovation and dissemination.
To increase revenue, we must increase the BOA. This is one of K2’s strongest cards. We can do this! But, we must be even better at making good applications and directing them where there is the greatest opportunity for grants. I think there is a great potential in EU funds, and this will be discussed at the 2nd K2 Retreat at Solstrand February 24-25. We can create courses for continuing education of various professions and make money on these courses. We must help students complete their studies and not drop out. If UiB gets a breakthrough for Vestlandslegen, this will give a boost to our funding.
But we must also cut costs. How can we work better for less money? Area efficiency is a great opportunity. Here we have to think innovatively. My office at the old Department of Pediatrics had approx. 20 shelf meters with binders. All this had to be shrunk to 1 shelf meter when moving to Glasblokkene. It was a demanding exercise, but it worked. The most interesting thing, however, is that after 5 years I have not yet used the papers even in this meter. Some may have a greater need, but most can manage with a PC and an monitor. The laboratories are very important for translation research, but here too we must think new. Much of the research is done on platforms and on a computer today, and it is possible to share bench space with others. In the administration, we must reduce personnel costs. Specialist teams have been introduced. And the introduction of new personnel and finance systems must eventually pay off.
These were some thoughts on how we can cope with the challenging measures and hopefully come out stronger, but I also need good suggestions from you. The first opportunity will be at the 2nd K2 Retreat. We will have a separate session on the economy there.
Have a great weekend!