Published: 21-04-2023 14:47 | Updated: 21-04-2023 14:47

Annika Östman Wernerson: We want to talk to you

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

Together – and with our partners around the world – we perceive the issues that enable KI as a university to generate the most effective societal benefit in everything we do. We cannot contribute in this way alone, we the university management are now inviting all KI staff to dialogue meetings.

 One of my main experiences as a researcher, teacher and leader at KI is how important it is to approach opportunities and challenges from different angles. I was quick to realise that close collaboration with colleagues and partners near and far repays double. I ask for input or advice from a colleague and receive in return knowledge and competence that reinforce my own and help me to find solutions. It is how I want to continue working as president. Together – and with our partners around the world – we perceive the issues that enable KI as a university to generate the most effective societal benefit in everything we do. Education and research are two of the key drivers of social development, and we cannot contribute in this way alone.

The university management – Vice-President Martin Bergö, our new university director since 17 April Veronika Sundström and I – will now be taking the next step and inviting all KI staff to dialogue meetings to discuss such issues as: What are the main questions we need to address for the future and what forums do we need in order to work even more effectively at the medical university of Karolinska Institutet, which is us. So welcome to the university management’s first dialogue meetings on 23 May in Flemingsberg or 29 May in Solna. This will be not only an important start for us but also a decisive step towards the future: What can we do together to enhance the ”we spirit” at KI? And what are the common issues that we have to put our combined energies into? I hope to see you there!

Stockholm scores high quality rating for societal and patient benefit of its clinical research

The societal benefit of KI’s and Region Stockholm’s clinical research has recently been evaluated. To me, who has one leg in the academy and the other in the clinic, it’s naturally important that the research KI conducts in close cooperation with Region Stockholm is implemented to the benefit of both patients and society.

In the Swedish Research Council’s evaluation that was published on 31 March, KI and Region Stockholm were given a high quality rating for their scientific production, which is described as very or exceptionally strong. The clinical significance and societal benefit of the research and the research conditions were deemed to be of good to high quality. These are positive results and we ought to be pleased – but not satisfied. Since the latest ALF evaluation in 2018, KI has worked hard to improve the implementation and societal benefit of its clinical research and to create better conditions for conducting clinical research of a very high standard. The results of the evaluation show that the determined endeavours of our researchers and our solid collaboration with Region Stockholm have paid off, and the trend is continuing. At the end of the day, it’s about how research can benefit society and how well our education programmes prepare our students for healthcare, the patients, society and the world.

KI’s external collaborations

One of KI’s important international collaborations takes place under the South Africa Sweden University Forum (SASUF). In the week before the Easter weekend, I was able to participate along with the rectors of Swedish universities and other Swedish delegates in this year’s research and innovation week which the forum arranges. SASUF is a strategic internationalisation project that brings together 40 higher education institutions from Sweden and South Africa, and that aims to strengthen ties between the countries in education, research and innovation, and that organises itself around the global sustainability goals. The rectors’ group met, amongst others, the research funding National Research Foundation and the Swedish Embassy. It made a deep impression to take part in the discussions on strengthening our collaborative relationships, especially with many South African universities.

Global sustainability is also the focus of KI’s annual sustainability day on 24 May. This is an occasion that gives everyone working at KI an opportunity to learn more about sustainability and acquire practical tools for acting in accordance with its principles. As a university, we play a vital part in tackling the world’s climate challenges and speeding up the transition towards a more sustainable society. This concerns everything from energy use and emissions from official travel to reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases from goods, services and waste. KI’s sustainability prize will also be awarded for the first time during the day. Each and every one of us can help to reduce our climate footprint and it’s essential that we all do our best!

On 12 May, we the University Management will be sharing our thoughts on the challenges facing the university as a whole. And we’ll not be alone: many of our researchers and teachers will be joining us on this our first inspiration day for all staff, which will be held digitally on Zoom. The theme is ”Brain, heart, body – how to be better equipped to take on a changing and challenging world”. One of the lectures, for example, will be on the value of cooperation and reciprocity in achieving common and individual goals. Together we are KI. I hope to see you there.

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.