Published: 31-01-2024 16:37 | Updated: 21-02-2024 14:34

Annika Östman Wernerson: New year brings new challenges

A portrait of President Annika Östman Wernerson
President Annika Östman Wernerson. Photo: Martin Stenmark

January is already turning into February, but I’d still like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone back to a new year at KI! 2024 began with our first departmental meetings with the departments of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics (LIME) and the department of Clinical Sciences, Danderyd Hospital (KI DS) on 17 January.

The management group, that is Vice-President Martin Bergö, University Director Veronika Sundström and myself, will now be moving on to the departments of Clinical Research and Education, Söder Hospital (KI SÖS) and Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology (CLINTEC). These meetings will give us a chance to visit all of KI’s departments and meet their staff this spring as an important step towards getting to know KI better and learning more about our various departments and what they do. It also provides valuable opportunities to discuss KI’s work going forward and how we can develop internal dialogue and cooperation.

Investigation of Neo building freezer malfunction

A few days before Christmas there was a serious malfunction of the freezers in the Neo building at Flemingsberg campus. The automatic refilling of liquid nitrogen into the cryo tanks failed, resulting in a rise in temperature in 16 of the 19 freezers and ruining vast quantities of biological research material. The malfunction comes as a huge blow to research at KI and is exceedingly frustrating for the researchers affected. An inquiry has been set up to ascertain what went wrong and to find ways to prevent it from happening again, whether at Neo or anywhere else at KI.

Public authorities affected by cyber attack

In January, KI, along with many other public authorities, companies and organisations, suffered an outage of the Primula salary system (including the PA web) due to the ransomware attack against system supplier Tietoevry’s data centre in Sweden. As a safety measure, Tietoevry has closed down the system while working on troubleshooting and restoring the service progress. Consequently, Primula can not be accessed at present.

A task force has been set up under the Head of HR Johanna Bäckström. They are in daily contact with Tietoevry for updates and with HR managers, system operators and senior managers at KI. 

We hope the problems will soon be resolved, but to find out what it all means for you in terms of pay and registering absences and outlays, check the relevant page, which is regularly updated.

Demonstration for the release of Ahmadreza Djalali

On 20 January, I took part in a demonstration in Stockholm in support of Ahmadreza Djalali and to protest against Iran’s lack of respect for human rights. Ahmadreza is a Swedish-Iranian doctor and researcher in disaster medicine; he is also an alumnus of KI, where he earned his PhD in disaster medicine in 2012. In April 2016 he was arrested in Teheran and sentenced to death after a trial that lacked the most fundamental criteria of just and humane treatment. In my address, I called for Ahmadreza to be released from the Evin Prison in Teheran and reunited with his family as soon as possible. We at Karolinska Institutet will continue to advocate tirelessly for Ahmadreza until he is free and back in Sweden.

In many respects, it’s been a tough start to the year, and so I’d like to thank you all for all your hard work. I hope and believe that the dark clouds lowering above us will soon disperse and the sun will shine again.

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.