Published: 19-06-2024 16:48 | Updated: 19-06-2024 16:48

Annika Östman Wernerson: First Almedalen then summer break - see you in the fall!

Rektor Annika Östman Wernerson
Rektor Annika Östman Wernerson Photo: Martin Stenmark

This spring, we embarked on an important and comprehensive change process to optimise our internal resources and to create even better conditions for our core activities and departments. This work is now entering a more concrete phase.

This includes renewing and simplifying our resource allocation model, more clearly establishing the roles of the deans, closer collaboration between the university management, deans, academic vice presidents and heads of department, and better coordination of KI's Professional Services. Several decisions will be taken before the fall.

These changes are necessary for equipping KI to face the future. As president of KI, it is clear to me that internal development work is needed if KI is to maintain and improve its position as a successful international university. My view has been strengthened during the dialogue meetings with the departments and has resulted in the nine strategic focus areas that form the basis for the change work, a work that requires both perseverance and a long-term approach.

Now that we’re starting to see developments in this direction, it is important to maintain the momentum to implement the changes. At the same time, we must have the ability to adjust along the way. Therefore, open dialogue meetings are being planned in Solna and Flemingsberg during the coming academic year 2024/2025.

It is our express ambition for KI to be a national and international engine, regarded by the world as both an attractive university and relevant actor for democratic values and societal benefit. With this as our point of departure, we can become the flagship we want to be.

Senior employees' expertise an important resource for KI

Ensuring senior competence in the organisation, without impairing junior employees’ career opportunities, is an issue that has also been discussed during the spring. The decision that employees who have reached the so-called LAS age (69) should not remain in employment after five years has been debated. Following a round of consultations and dialogues with deans and head of departments, we have now landed in a proposal whereby all employees are automatically dismissed at the age of 69, just as it works at all other Swedish universities. Thereafter, it is possible for the head of department, based on the needs of the organisation, to rehire senior employees on a part-time basis, without there being any limit for this and there is the budget to finance them. Research grants may not be shared with staff who have turned 69, which means that the current five-year limit no longer applies and that there is a possibility to re-employ someone even after they have passed the LAS age. 

Disappointment over Djalali not being released

This weekend, we received news of a prisoner exchange between Iran and Sweden ‒ two Swedish citizens have therefore been able to return home to their families. I am happy for them, but at the same time I note that KI alumnus, doctor and researcher Ahmadreza Djalali, was not included in the exchange. Many of us at KI have worked hard for our colleague’s release for many years and the disappointment among us is great today. All I can do is urge the Swedish government to continue doing what they can to make sure that Ahmadreza Djalali will also be reunited with his family at home in Sweden.      

Summer vacation is coming up

During the spring, Vice-President Martin Bergö, University Director Veronika Sundström and I have visited all 22 KI departments. Many thanks to all of you for these instructive, interesting and very pleasant meetings. We will go through all documentation from the visits, and identify issues that require continued dialogue during the coming academic year.

Among our students, many have already participated in the formal degree ceremonies, and others have gone on summer vacation. After a busy semester, it will soon be time for leave for us staff too. For my part, I still have to take part in the Almedalen Week, a traditional gathering of politicians, other decision-makers, opinion-formers and social actors, where academia and research also have an important place. We are in a time when it is more important than ever to present facts, new knowledge and its application in the public debate. That is why I look forward to participating in various discussions with researchers from KI during this year’s Almedalen week (in Swedish).

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff and students for the academic year we have just completed. I hope you all have a wonderful summer.

Latest updates from the President

Annika Östman Wernersonwrites regularly about issues that are important to the university under the heading "Latest updates from the President". The articles are published on KI's website and found at News and updates from the University Management. She also contributes regularly to the internal newsletter KI News. Previously published texts can be read in the news archive.