Daily Archives: Friday May 31st, 2024

Financial Realities – K2 Management Takes Action

K2 is running a significant deficit, and changes are necessary to turn things around. Therefore, the management has initiated several measures that will affect your workday. In such situations, it can often be challenging, to use a favorite expression of politicians, but it is crucial to identify and seize the opportunities that exist.

The broader picture indicates that the Norwegian education sector is gradually being downsized over time, though perhaps not as much in the health and medicine sectors, where many hands will be needed in the future. We are not alone in this; reduced resources are something all universities must cope with, and as always, it’s important to be among the best.

What does this mean for K2? The following points summarize some of the measures management is working on:

  • Space Reduction: K1 and K2 are working to reduce their area in the Laboratory Building by about 400m² to save on rent. The involved groups are collaborating with management to find solutions that do not harm research activities, and we hope this process can be completed by the end of August.
  • Core Facilities: Our core facilities are crucial infrastructure for research and are often essential for securing research funding. K2 has many such facilities, all running at a deficit, which collectively poses a significant problem. We must, therefore, consider restructuring, relocating, or possibly shutting down non-critical core facilities.
  • Zero-Overhead Projects: While these projects are beneficial, they also pose a problem as they burden the collective resources. K2 has many large projects in this category, contributing to the deficit. Until now, we have had matching funds to mitigate this, but this scheme has been discontinued. We are working on budgeting to reduce deficits in such projects, including freeing up project staff. So far, we have not declined such projects, but it could become a reality in the future.
  • Efficient Teaching: The number of students is increasing, but the number of teachers is decreasing, requiring more teaching from fewer staff. In collaboration with the study administration, we are working to get a better overview of teaching responsibilities and who can contribute. We need to be open to new ideas; perhaps you will need to teach a subject you are not a super specialist in, or perhaps an academic environment needs to change the curriculum to make teaching more efficient with new tools. Introducing more weekly duties in the departments might also be necessary. Here, dialogue with healthcare institutions will be crucial to find good arrangements.
  • Same People, New Tasks: Starting in June, we will map the competencies of technical staff and PhD/postdocs with an eye on administrative tasks. We need people to assist with events, defenses, and other work on a voluntary basis.

Turning the economy around requires everyone to contribute. We have discussed this in various forums, but so far, the engagement has been rather low. Everyone must participate if we are to succeed, and we must be willing to think creatively.

Eystein Husebye,
Acting Head of Department