Published: 15-06-2023 10:25 | Updated: 16-06-2023 17:15

Annika Östman Wernerson: The dialogue meetings during spring has been very valuable

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

The time for a welcome and well-deserved summer break is quickly approaching. It’s a welcome period of recuperation and relaxation, and I myself will be spending it with my family at home and in the Stockholm archipelago, which offers the time and space I need to relax and think creatively.

What I especially love about June is seeing all these happy school-leavers and our own students celebrating their degrees. Congratulations!

I’m also delighted that KI-Region Stockholm is the ALF region that best meets the criteria set by the National Board of Health and Welfare’s in its evaluation of academic healthcare. The report, known as the USV evaluation, was released on 31 May. Research is the region’s strongest field, but our innovation, pedagogical education and interaction with patients and families were also rated highly.

The USV evaluation was conducted in 2022 for all ALF regions, which is to say the regions covered by the ALF agreement, which regulates their partnership with the government on medical training, clinical research and healthcare development. We should feel proud of KI-Region Stockholm’s excellent results and of the fact that our collaboration with the region works so well.

Important issues at the dialogue meetings

We in the university management and the chair of the University Board met recently with the state secretary to the minister for education Maria Nilsson and her colleagues for an “official dialogue meeting”.  The meeting was held in a positive spirit and KI raised several priority issues, including the importance of academic freedom and institutional autonomy in light of the government’s decision to curtail the term of office for the external members of university boards. Other matters discussed were security policy, financing and education/skills supply. This dialogue is very important to us, we’ll make sure to keep is alive between these yearly meetings.

This autumn, KI will be able to respond to the government’s forthcoming research bill. We must not waste this chance to influence and voice our opinions on how Sweden can create the best conceivable conditions for research and higher education. I’m also part of an Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) group working on a joint statement in response to the bill.

Internal dialogue meetings held

This spring saw many dialogue meetings with both staff and students at KI. Dialogues like this are very important for us and essential to the creation of a “we spirit”. Vice-President Martin Bergö, the University Director Veronika Sundström and I gather impressions, messages and signals from these meetings in order to build a solid foundation for the priorities and choices we will have to make. We will continue our dialogue meetings after the summer in English.

Before it’s time for the summer break

The government is to host the EU’s ”Life Sciences – the Era of Personalised Medicine” seminar on 26-27 June as part of its presidency of the EU Council of Ministers. It is, of course, especially flattering that the government has decided to hold the conference here at KI. As hosts, Björn Zoëga, CEO of Karolinska University Hospital, and I will be welcoming all invited guests representing the sector’s most important actors.

During Almedal week in Visby I will be taking part in a panel with the Minister for Health Care and the Director General of the National Board of Health and Welfare to convey the importance of including the university perspective in healthcare planning. The Vice-President will be taking part in another panel debate with SwedenBio and the University Director in a round-table discussion on campus development. We will also be forging new contacts, strengthening KI’s ties with other higher education institutions and actors in the fields of health care and life science, and advancing the dialogue with the politicians that have influence over our activities. Read more about the events in which KI researchers are participating.

The focus ahead of the autumn

We look forward to starting our departmental tour this autumn. We plan to visit all departments this coming academic year and will be posting further details after the summer.

Until then, Martin, Veronika and I would like to thank you all for what has been an altogether eventful and dynamic term since starting as vice-president, university director and president. This is, of course, to be expected of a university as full of motivated staff and students as KI. We grow more impressed by the day of the knowledge and skills our university possesses. 

We wish you all a lovely summer and look forward to seeing you again in the autumn.

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.