Merry Christmas and happy holiday season!
Another year is almost over. For most of us, it is a busy autumn with application deadlines, congresses, meetings, and new cohorts of students. So now it is good to be able to look forward to a holiday with the opportunity for peace and reflection.
At the time of writing, the Covid-19 pandemic is a growing challenge, especially for the healthcare system, even if the new variants seem milder. Fortunately, strict hygienic measures such as social distancing, face masks, and frequent alcohol washing, as well as communication and teaching through digital media, are not necessary as the situation is now. But NIPH predicts a Christmas holiday with a large degree of intercurrent diseases in the population due to the coincidence of several epidemics with gastroenteritis, influenza and RS virus in addition to Covid-19.
For K2, 2022 has been characterized by new challenges linked to the economy. A series of cuts in funding from KD, UiB and the Faculty have turned the financial situation at the department upside down. Since over 90% of our economy is linked to positions, freezing vacancies is unfortunately what is needed some years to overcome the problem. In addition, we are working on how we can make better use of space and teaching; space efficiency and how to free up time for research through more efficient teaching, so that our scientific activity is not affected.
In this new situation, it is important that we have a common understanding of the challenge and that we must stand together in it. Then, as mentioned, there is also an opportunity to rethink and find new solutions that can nevertheless improve our primary tasks: research, teaching, innovation, and communication. K2 Retreat 2 on Solstrand went as planned despite the tight economy. The Retreat is a very important venue for strategy discussions and generation of new ideas. We therefore aim to carry out K2 Retreat 3 in 2024. We must not lose our hearts, we must manage to come out of the situation even stronger!
For many, Christmas is the highlight of the year, where family and friends gather for a holiday filled with traditions and a sense of belonging, followed by space Christmas, which can provide opportunities for other activities at home in Bergen, trips to the mountains or elsewhere.
What most of us take for granted is not necessarily so for everyone. Some have lost a loved one, or have no close friends or family gathering this year. And in the past year, we have received many refugees from the senseless events of the war in Ukraine. Are we able to think extra about these and perhaps include them in our own Christmas celebration?
In conclusion, I would like to thank each and every one of you for small and large contributions to our primary tasks and for creating a good place to be.
With wishes for a peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2022.