“Just another year”? Because of Covid-19, 2020 will be a year for the history books. The pandemic has turned research and teaching upside down for most of us. Hygienic measures such as social distancing, face masks and antimicrobial sanitizing, as well as the reorganization of communication and teaching to digital media, have required a lot from the individual and the organizations, including K2. But it has been great for me as a leader to see how well you have coped with this upheaval with acceptance, constructive action and even enthusiasm. Thank you very, very much!
We have learned a lot in many areas. Within a few weeks, UiB became digitalized, including eg. The K2 Day! New forms of communication make distances trivial and new international contacts and networks have become possible. I think we will emerge stronger from the pandemic, although there are some things that have been delayed or made more difficult.
K2 has undergone a number of changes in 2020 in that the research groups have been partially reorganized and teaching groups have been established with teaching group leaders (UGLEs). I think this will improve the academic environment for research and teaching. Thanks for constructive processes and involvement.
Despite Covid-19, 2020 has been a good year for K2. Employees have published in the best journals and been awarded prizes. Professor Nina Langeland will lead a National Program Against Antibiotic Resistance, Professor Eva Gerdts a Center for Heart Disease in Women, and Professor Einar Klæboe Kristoffersen a Center for Regenerative Medicine. Congratulations to these environments!
We have so far not fully achieved our goal of external research funding for 2020, but we hope this year’s allocations in the Research Council of Norway, which will be announced next week, will rectify this. K2 coordinates two COE applications, is shared leader of two more and partner on another five. It is to hope that at least one of these will make it! Thanks to Silke and Emmet for being temporarily willing to move up!
Autumn is often perceived as hectic due to application deadlines, meetings, and new student courses. And the semester is relatively short compared to the spring semester. Hence, as the year is nearing its end, it is good to be able to look forward to a holiday with the opportunity for peace and reflection.
For many, Christmas and the holiday season is the highlight of the year where family and friends gather for a holiday full of traditions and a sense of belonging, followed by Christmas in space, which can provide opportunities for other activities at home in Bergen, trips to the mountains or elsewhere. Covid-19 unfortunately places restrictions on this this year, but then we get the opportunity to form even closer ties within our own family.
What most of us take for granted is not necessarily the case for everyone. Some have lost someone they loved or have no close friends or family gathered this year. Can we think extra about these and maybe include them in our own Christmas celebration?
With wishes for a peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2021.