Published: 13-05-2024 08:43 | Updated: 21-05-2024 11:12

Who will be KI’s next faculty representatives? Time to nominate candidates!

Aula Medica in May
Photo: Annika Evolahti

It’s time once again to vote for faculty representatives for the Karolinska Institutet Board, the university’s supreme decision-making body. All staff, students and affiliates of KI are invited to nominate candidates between 14 and 28 May. Here, sitting faculty representatives give some tips on what to expect and hope to inspire their successors.

Terese Stenfors
Terese Stenfors. Photo: Ulf Sirborn

“We have a real chance to influence and help shape the future of our KI,” says Terese Stenfors, professor at the Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics (LIME). “In combination with the government-appointed members, we make a good mix.”

Terese is one of three faculty representatives to have sat on the board for the past three-year mandate.

What’s it been like to combine the duties of faculty representative with your other commitments? 

“Our board work is very well-prepared and well-organised. All our meetings are scheduled for the whole year and the material we need for them is always excellently prepared and promptly delivered, so there’s no problem juggling these duties with my other work. They’re mutually enriching, in fact! And what I’ve learnt during my time on the board is also extremely valuable to me in my other roles.”

What have you enjoyed the most? 

“Getting new angles on the breadth and depth of KI’s activities. A lot of exciting and important things are going on at KI and as a board member you get both overview and insight. I’ve also really liked working with the government-appointed members and getting to hear their perspectives on what we do. It’s an incredibly important and rewarding job. We faculty representatives are crucial and we make a difference.”

“An opportunity to have a say on important issues”

Birgitta Henriques-Normark, professor at the Department of Microbiology, Tumour and Cell Biology and sitting faculty representative says that the position is a vital one.

Birgitta Henriques-Normark. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman

“The board discusses and decides on issues that affect KI in different ways as well as those of us who work at the departments with research and education. They cover everything from finances, leasing and rentals, organisation and administration to innovations, external consultations and input to research bills. In all this, my past experience, including as research group leader, academic vice president for research, president of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and member of the Swedish Research Council's Scientific Council for Medicine and Health, has been invaluable.”

What’s it been like to combine being a faculty representative with your other commitments? 

“It’s been fine. This position is a very important one and must be given priority. Many of the issues I was already familiar with, while others have been new to me. If you’re well-acquainted with many of the issues, the position isn’t so onerous. I don’t feel that it’s impacted on my other commitments – on the contrary, it’s given me insight into matters of concern to KI and an opportunity to have a say on important issues.”

Do you have any advice to offer the new faculty representatives? 

“Give priority to board meetings and be well-prepared for them. It’s important to be well-acquainted with the matters to be discussed and decided on. Think about how they will affect the departments and KI in general and feed back to them when necessary.”

“A better understanding of KI’s organisation and budget”

Nils-Göran Larsson, professor at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics and sitting faculty representative says that his experience has been an asset to him. 

Nils-Göran Larsson. Photo: Gustav Mårtensson

“Definitely. My past positions of national and international leadership, such as head of department at KI and director of a Max Planck institute in Germany, have endowed me with a broad perspective on how successful research is conducted. One issue that I think needs pursuing further at KI is the possibility of creating a research school in which doctoral students are recruited onto the global arena, much like many other internationally leading research institutions have.”

What have enjoyed most about being a faculty representative? 

“Meeting new, fascinating people and getting a better understanding of KI’s organisation and budget. One thing that’s clear to me now is that only a fraction of KI’s government grant goes direct to the departments. I’d like to see the control of KI’s resources moved closer to the core activities. Convoluted internal resource management just leads to unnecessary bureaucracy.”

Do you have any tips to give your replacements? 

“As a faculty representative you need to cover all issues and represent KI’s core activities of research and education. It’s essential that you make your voice heard and try to exert an influence.”

Faculty representative on the KI Board: a description of duties and responsibilities