Frosty collaboration?


As two of Lund University’s deans, we react strongly to Thomas Frostberg’s column published 24 October. The column, entitled “The university’s innovation initiative back to the past”, gives an account of the university’s review of its research, innovation and collaboration support structure, portraying it as a power play in which “the faculties and their leaders, the deans, see themselves as the only real power brokers as they control the core research and education operations”. We do not identify with this description, but we understand that it depends on which glasses one is reading with, and whom one has spoken to.

We are not writing in order to put forward our views on Thomas Frostberg’s description of our powers or ambitions – it is incorrect, but can be helpful in our daily actions – but because we believe the column gives a misleading account of two critical points. For one, it describes the proposed direction as the university closing over; and it gives a misleading image of the nature of the university.

As to the first point, the column finally concludes that “the problem with the review is not the proposal to move the innovation operations to the faculties – on the contrary, it needs further anchoring there – but that the reviewer’s thorough mapping reveals a strongly introverted perspective.” So the findings are not the problem, and the review was thoroughly conducted, but it is wrong anyway. And on top of this are added a few blows that clearly reflect party interests.

Nowhere does the column mention what the initiatives from recent years have actually led to, or why so many people within the university are so critical of these areas. Is it simply a reaction to Per Eriksson that is behind all this? Perhaps Thomas Frostberg could speak to a few of us. We’d be happy to! Let us therefore say a few words about how we view collaboration. Large parts of Lund University are currently characterized by a strong dedication and desire to collaborate. This dedication is driven by direct contact with interested parties – both financially motivated through e.g. commercialization of knowledge, and desire-driven by researchers who actively search for an audience outside the walls of academia.

This dedication is also driven intra-academically, e.g. through the international accreditation that the School of Economics and Management is involved in, and through national initiatives to review collaboration activities. There is nothing, nothing, in the proposal that should lead anyone to worry that we are putting the brakes on such initiatives; on the contrary, many of the suggestions are about providing better support for them. As Thomas Frostberg writes, the innovation and collaboration functions must be firmly anchored with the faculties - that, unfortunately, hasn’t always been the case. Only then can we benefit from the collaboration opportunities we are all looking for.

As to the second point, the skepticism towards the Vice-Chancellor’s power that is described is largely correct, but it is impossible to understand unless viewed against the background of how the university is, in large part, run from the bottom up. A lot of our research is funded by external grants that we apply for in competition with other researchers and institutions. The freedom that individual staff members have to shape their own work, or pursue their own initiatives in education, research and collaboration is not just a fundamental reflection of the university’s nature, it is also a reflection on its power structure – at times frustrating for the Vice-Chancellor, deans and department heads alike.

We are fully aware that the power struggle described in the column is a more compelling story, but that does not make it any less incorrect.

Fredrik Andersson, Dean at the School of Economics and Management
Viktor Öwall, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering LTH


We constantly hear that engineers, architects and designers are in great demand. And that is the case in virtually all areas of education that we offer. However, for many years we have been facing the paradox of having to limit...[more]


For some time, we at LTH have been thinking about how to better explain to the outside world what we do and what drives us. To do so, we have – quite naturally – proceeded on the basis of our vision, developed by the Corporate...[more]


The term Liberal Arts can be interpreted in many different ways – I use it myself when I advocate for students on long degree programmes at Lund University to be allowed to study subjects at other faculties within the framework...[more]


We have come to a point where we need to create new initiatives within undergraduate education, and increase the number of students admitted to LTH. For six years, we have endured the overproduction in education, that is, we...[more]


Even women in academia and in the technology industry have joined in the Me too campaign. This is not surprising, but yet shocking.[more]


There’s a lot of talk about digitalisation right now. What do we really mean by the term, and is it something new? Although the meaning of the term partly depends on who you ask, we can all agree that information and services are...[more]


After a quiet summer in Lund and at LTH, it is full of life again. Students are everywhere and it is bursting with activity. Over the past two weeks, I have had the pleasure of welcoming LTH's new students in both Lund and...[more]


Lund University hosted a seminar in conjunction with the state visit of the King and Queen of Sweden to Indonesia. [more]


In the previous blog post, I discussed cooperation and earlier that LTH is training people for future professions. But within what fields are we cooperating and what exactly are we training people for? LTH recently approved its...[more]


External engagement is part of the life-blood of LTH. We educate primarily for the business sector and wider society, although some of our students stay in academia. This provision of skills is, in my opinion, our most important...[more]


It is time to get back to blogging after the weekend and a trip to the US. This year I will also try to post more frequently.  Both in California, where I was last week, and here at home you constantly hear how hard it is...[more]


Today we see, hear and read a lot about fact-resistance, that is, the approach of not letting yourself be affected by information that goes against your own opinion. The clearest examples of this today are the campaigns before...[more]


LTH is one of the faculties at Lund University that is considered to be single-gendered. This discussion focuses mainly on the number of female professors – a figure that at LTH is around 15 per cent, although the proportions...[more]


Now all the students are back and the campus is fizzing with life. It feels great to get going again!Over the summer, there was a debate in Sydsvenskan about the fact that John E Franzén’s magnificent work “Cadillac Eldorado”,...[more]


Today we held an introduction for nearly 600 international Master’s and exchange students from around 50 different countries. The vibe was extremely positive, and the auditorium was filled with expectations and hopes. The energy...[more]


The time just before summer is a time for graduation ceremonies and various forms of festivities. We began with our graduation ceremony in the main University building on 20 May, where more than 110 Bachelor’s and Master’s...[more]


Once a year, the management of the Faculty of Engineering (LTH) invites members of the Swedish Parliament from Skåne to discuss and exchange ideas. Apparently, we once also had a tradition of inviting politicians from the Lund...[more]


Almost a year ago to the day, I asked the question “Where were you?” in my blog. That was after the talks given by last year’s Honorary Doctors, which were very interesting but sadly not as well attended as I’d hoped. It got me...[more]


As I once wrote in my blog, I think everyone who works at the Faculty of Engineering LTH can use the motto:  - Ask not what LTH can do for you, but what you can do for LTH. When the new organisation was presented the other...[more]


In my last blog post I brought up the importance of the ‘open’ university and having an open dialogue with the surrounding community, and wrote: “We don’t know how the world will develop over the course of our students’ careers,...[more]

Displaying results 1 to 20 out of 33.
<< First < Previous 1-20 21-33 Next > Last >>

Viktor Öwall
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering LTH

Viktor's book recommendations