New management at ARC
The Division of Aging Research Center (ARC) has new management from April 1. Erika Jonsson Laukka is the new head of division, and Carin Lennartsson is the new deputy/acting head of division, as well as newly appointed director of ARC. In addition, Chengxuan Qiu will be deputy head of division responsible for research strategy.
How well do you know each other?
Erika: Carin and I know each other well. We have both been deputy/acting heads of division for the past two years. I look forward to continuing our collaboration, Carin will remain as deputy head, and also take on the role as director of ARC.
Carin: We have worked together for the past two years, so we know each other well, although most of that time we have been working remotely, which has been a special situation. I really look forward to continue to work with Erika, and I hope that we will soon be able to go back to work at the ARC facility.
What do you most look forward to in your new positions?
Erika: I hope we will be able to meet physically soon, to be able to resume personal discussions and interactions after a long period of working from home and via Zoom meetings.
Carin: I also hope that we will be able to meet in person soon, with active discussions and activities.
Explain the role of director?
Carin: ARC was formed in 2000 as a collaboration between KI and Stockholm University. The current agreement between KI and SU regarding ARC is valid through December 2023. According to the agreement, ARC must have a director and an external advisory board. The director will lead, inform, and discuss the finances, operations and strategies of ARC with the external board.
The director is mainly responsible for making research at ARC visible both inside and outside of the academic world. The director should work towards collaborations with SU, government agencies and other organizations interested in strengthening the agenda regarding aging and elderly persons.
Can you combine the roles of deputy/acting head of division with being the ARC director?
Carin: Yes, I am convinced that I can do that. My predecessors have been doing it successfully.
How will you combine the new management roles with your current activities?
Erika: I will continue as research group leader, and work on my research and ongoing data collections. A big part of my research is related to the SNAC-K project, where I am the coordinator for the cognitive part of the data collection. We have been following older people for 20 years, and I am personally especially interested in the development of different cognitive functions in normal aging and in relation to dementia. I am also engaged in other projects, supervision and teaching.
Carin: This new role will not take up all my time, although it might during certain periods. I will continue as research group leader and supervisor. For many years, I have conducted research around older people’s living conditions and health. Currently I am responsible for several research projects, one is about the exchange of time, care and money between older parents and their grown children, another project is about the long-term effects of retirement age, for health later in life.
I am also responsible for planning and execution of SWEOLD, a national survey of the living conditions for the older population in Sweden.
What is the first thing you will do on your new assignments?
We have already established a plan for a partially new organization of ARC, so the first thing we will do is to continue to work on that. We will also discuss with co-workers at ARC about what they see as the main focus for the nearest future.
Do you see any particular challenges?
Erika: One challenge for ARC is that we are depending on short-term external funding, one of our goals is to ensure a stable financial foundation for ARC.
Carin: Personally, I hope to find a balance between the administrative tasks and other work, such as research and supervision.
What are your visions for ARC?
Erika: That ARC will remain a strong research center conduction high quality research in aging, which is a very important issue for the future of our society.
Carin: That ARC will continue to be a research center with high quality international research on aging and the living conditions of older people. The research at ARC is highly relevant for the future. That ARC will be less dependent on short-term external funding - I want to work towards more long-term financial conditions, and a better balance between external and internal funding. This is partly a requirement for us to be able to maintain and recruit researchers in the future.
What do you most look forward to?
Erika: To meet all the new research group leaders and discuss the future of ARC.
Carin: Besides the work Erika and I will do together, I think working closer together with the new research group leaders will be especially fun and rewarding.