Published: 25-10-2013 00:00 | Updated: 26-11-2013 10:29

Board of Research announce four strategic initiatives

[NEWS 2013-10-25] A generous bonus to departments that recruit female professors and funds to retain young highly talented researchers; these are two of the strategic initiatives now decided upon by the Board of Research.

Hans-Gustaf LjunggrenPhoto: Erik Cronberg

The KI Board of Research has now taken a decision on strategic initiatives in the shape of four new programmes, including SEK 500,000 per year for five years for departments that recruit female professors and SEK 350,000 a year to the ones that recruit female visiting professors.

"Still only a little over 20 per cent of all professors recruited at KI are women, and that's too few," says Dean of Research Professor Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren. "A mixed environment is more creative and young people of both sexes must be able to identify with role models at professorial level."

The initiative will also help the university to meet the requirement set by the Ministry of Education and Research stating that at least 47 per cent of professors employed at KI between 2012 and 2015 are to be women.

The board is also investing in the recruitment of internationally leading researchers as professors or visiting professors at KI. A total of SEK 30 million or so per year will be earmarked for this, the exact sum to be decided in November.

"This is funding that will help to build the large financial start package often needed to recruit really strong individuals, mainly from abroad," says Professor Ljunggren.

KI has had previous programmes for strategic professorships, but they have focused on subjects rather than individuals, which, according to Professor Ljunggren, has caused certain problems.

Some SEK 3 million will be spent annually in exceptional cases on trying to retain strategically important junior researchers intending to leave KI. This will mainly concern recipients of major awards, such as grants from the European Research Council, who, accordingly, have been made attractive offers from other universities.

"In such cases, KI has a duty to see if anything can be done to stop them leaving," says Professor Ljunggren. "This will be an opportunity to team up with the department to devise a counter-offer."

An equal amount is to be put into offering financial support, again in exceptional cases, for the establishment of internationally leading junior researchers at KI. But, as Professor Ljunggren points out, this is no regular project grant.

"It's for international star researchers who need something for their research that KI doesn't possess, like a special piece of equipment, that we and the departments have to find the resources to purchase," he says.

These investments in visiting professors, junior researchers and counter-offers are new forms of strategic programme.

"But it has always been the job of a dean of research to work with such issues, and what weve done now is establish a process for it," says Professor Ljunggren

Candidates for the programme are to be presented by the relevant head of department, who will discuss the matter with the Dean of Research before it is passed on to the Board of Research for a decision.

The funds for supporting the recruitment of female professors will run out at the end of 2015. The other investments are not time-bound.

"They are included in our budget up to 2020. But well have to evaluate them as we go, and see if they need to be changed in some way," says Professor Ljunggren.

When these evaluations are to be carried out has not yet been decided.