From IT consultant to researcher
Sara Eriksén (born 1950) had worked for nearly 20 years as an information technology (IT) coordinator and IT consultant when she returned to academia to complete her Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Informatics. Her work life experience within IT design, development and use provided an excellent sounding board for her further studies in Informatics and Human Work Science. This in turn inspired her to leave her job as an IT consultant and become a university teacher and researcher – a mid-life change of career which she has never regretted. In 1998 she finished her dissertation in Informatics at Lund University, and a few years later (2004) she received her Docentur (title of Associate Professor) at the same university. Between 1999 and 2004 she worked as a senior lecturer, then became an Associate Professor (2004-2005) and thereafter a full Professor (2005-2017), at Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH).
Her main research interests are design, development and use of IT in the public sector (e-government) and within healthcare and health promotion (e-health, m-health). She is especially interested in methods for promoting participatory design and continuing-design-in-use of IT. During the past 4 years she has been part of the senior research group at the Department of Creative Technologies. Currently, as professor emerita at BTH, she mainly focuses on publishing research results from the projects she has lead during 2014-2017, and supporting faculty- and student-exchange and long-term research collaboration with BTH:s partner universities IIT Madras and IIT Mandi in India and Tsuda University and the University of Electro-Communications (UEC) in Japan.
To summarize, my advice to young people in the beginning of their career – or, for that matter, in mid-career but looking for a change – would be: If you want to see the world and broaden your horison, study and/or work at BTH!
Both as a student and as a researcher and teacher at BTH, there are a multitude of fantastic opportunities offered to meet students, researchers and teachers from many different parts of the world, to develop international networks and to travel to other countries. You may go abroad as an exchange student, an exchange teacher, a visiting researcher or to participate at international conferences and workshops where you present and get feedback on your own research results and can learn about the on-going work of other researchers from many different countries all over the world.
During my years as a researcher and teacher at BTH I have had the opportunity to build up and cultivate both a national and an international collegial network within my areas of research. I have been a guest professor at a university in southern Denmark, at University West and the university in Växjö in Sweden. I have been a guest lecturer at a technical university in Paris, a university in Tokyo, Japan, and at a new technical institute, IIT Mandi, way up in the Himalayas in North India. I have run several research projects in collaboration with highly respected research colleagues at IIT Madras in India. I have attended workshops and conferences and presented my research on Hawaii, in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Seattle, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia, in Sydney in Australia, in Chennai, Cochin and Bangalore in India, and in a number of different countries in Europe. Last, but not least, I have had the opportunity to take part in building up long-term regional collaboration in the Blekinge region between research, education, the industrial sector including small businesses, and the public sector and society.
My sincere thanks to all the external research funding agencies, as well as to agencies providing funding for teaching and staff exchanges in higher education, to research colleagues participating in the same projects and sharing some of the traveling involved, to the Grants Office and the International Office at BTH and their predecessors, to the highly professional staff in the economy department and the rest of the skillful administrative staff, and to supportive and encouraging heads of departments, deans and vice chancellors through the years, who have made this explorer’s journey to near and far places in the service of research and education possible!
Projects & Publications
|RIM: Regional anchoring-in of Innovative Mhealth technologies
|Health in Hand -Tranforming Healthcare with innovative mhealth technologies for health promotion and disease prevention
|GAMES + HEALTH = TRUE! Gamification of IT-support for health promotion
|INNOVAGE: Regional development policies in eco-independent living for the elderly
|Swedish Research Links Asia project between IIT Madras and BTH: Participatory, sustainable, convergent and high quality public e-services - developing methods and practices