An intensive first week of December

The first Monday in December, I was at the conference ”Aligning Strategies to Enable Open Access” in Berlin. It is an annually occurring conference, although I participated for the first time. I had been invited for my presence in the Royal Library’s working group on Open Access.

There were many interesting presentations that confirmed that there is a strong consensus for a quick transition to “Gold Open Access” within a short time, as prescribed by the “Plan S”. The movement is increasingly global, which was emphasized among others by speakers from the University of California, South Africa, Japan and China. There was also an interesting presentation from the Copernicus Publications, that has been fully OA since 2001. An important contribution from them was to present the real cost for OA. You find some more information about the meeting at the link, and more will be openly available (!) later.

https://www.mpg.de/12553198/14th-berlin-open-access-conference

On the second conference day I opted out the direct meeting with some chosen publishers, to instead participate in the Vice-Chancellor’s meeting in the “Lärosäten Syd” (LS), i.e., Universities of South Sweden, network. On the agenda was first some information from all. Among others, Malmö University reported that they plan an internal research evaluation in 2019. Kristianstad University informed that the experiment with internal collegial evaluations of their education. They will also investigate a possible move of their campus to the city centre. Further, we got some last-minute information before the inauguration of our common Brussel’s office. There was also a presentation of the LS quality network, which seems to provide a valuable exchange of experiences. As we were pilots for the UKÄ evaluation recently, we could contribute with our experience of that. Further, “Validation” of competences was discussed, for newcomers to Sweden and others. An SI (Supplementary Instructions) platform for facilitation of validation will be set up. Finally, there was some information about the Structural Fund Partnerships for Skåne and Blekinge, which is something we need to keep an eye on. These give ample opportunities to, through the regions, get support for important collaborations projects.

The same week on Wednesday, I participated for the last time in the Steering Board of the Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg. I leave the board due to my move to BTH. In this last meeting we decided on the recipient of next year’s recipient of the much prestigious Hasselblad Award in photography. It was also interesting to see drafts of the jubilee books that will come out as the foundation turns 40 next years. I also made a quick trip to Borås University for the acknowledgement of Vice-Chancellor Björn Brorström, who leaves his post at the end of the year. Björn has been a source of inspiration for me during the time we have known each other, and I can recommend his blog! We have also met at Örgryte IS home games in football the last years. Perhaps we meet again when ÖIS will meet Mjällby next year? Wednesday was finished with a visit to the Gothenburg Opera and their brilliant setup of Wagner’s Rheingold. I don’t go often to the opera, and when I do it is almost always Puccini. But this was an outstanding exception – I recommend it!

The week ended with a visit to Brussels and the inauguration of LS new Brussel’s office. The office is in the “Nordic House” in central Brussels, together with among others some regional offices. The ceremony was well-attended by the six participating universities: Lund, SLU Alnarp, Malmö, Kristianstad, Halmstad and BTH. I was there with Dean Benny Lövström and Eva-Lisa Ahnström, who is our ”Grants Office”. There were also many invited guests from the research councils, nearby universities and several persons from the EU administration. Rickard Eksten is “our man in Brussels”, and he led the inauguration through some presentations and a panel, where I participated. At large, it was all about our expectations on the Brussel’s office and how we can make use of it. It was mainly about challenge-driven research and innovation, but also activities within education and the connection of research and education. I consider the office as an important meeting place and a window into Brussels for us, and towards southern Sweden for the EU. We are a small university, but with sharp edge in some fields. It means that we must collaborate with others to make a real difference, and we do have competence to bring to the table. We have already been quite successful in e.g. Horizon 2020 and let us continue that way in the coming Horizon Europe and other programme, with our region as the starting point.

10 December 2018