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An open university

2016-02-29

Photo: Håkan E Bengtsson

Last week kicked off with the first Science and Innovation Talks event at Tetra Pak. It’s an initiative with the aim of creating new touch-points between private companies and the university’s researchers. Olaf Diegel, Professor at the Department of Design Sciences, gave a lecture on 3D printing and the amazing opportunities this exciting technology opens up. I hope it was well received and provided some inspiration for the many Tetra Pak employees in the audience. We are very open to starting similar initiatives with other companies and government agencies. But why are we doing this? Are we not “sufficient unto ourselves”?

That might seem like a dumb question with an obvious answer: Of course we’re not! Academia is a part of society, albeit with some strange ideas and rituals that can seem foreign to outsiders. Some of us, such as myself, stay inside the academic circle. But most of our students leave academia and become part of “the real world”. This means we have to listen to its needs and understand how our students will be received. What we have to give our students is a solid base to stand on, a set of tools and the ability to think critically. They have to be able not only to solve known problems, but also to understand how to attack a new question and deal with the unexpected. We don’t know how the world will develop over the course of our students’ careers, but we can be sure that plenty will happen that we can’t foresee today.

So we listen and keep the lines of communication with wider society open. Last autumn I participated in a debate about Lund University closing up – see my earlier post “Frosty collaboration”. Even though it feels as if the storm has abated, I can still hear the echoes of “LU is closing in on itself! LU doesn’t want to collaborate!” … and so on. Nothing could be farther from the truth in my eyes. I have worked with private companies ever since my PhD thesis in the 80’s, and I share this experience with many of my colleagues. We want an open dialogue with industry and society. We want to know what they need from us. We want to collaborate. But we retain the right to make our own choices. We will listen – but also act as a barrier for temporary trends, twists and turns. We believe – rightly or wrongly – that we sometimes know better!

Viktor Öwall
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering LTH

 

 


2017-09-13

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]


2017-06-28

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


2017-04-04

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]


2017-03-14

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]


2017-02-22

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]


2016-12-01

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]


2016-09-22

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]


2016-09-14

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]


2016-08-19

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]


2016-06-29

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]


2016-06-01

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]


2016-05-20

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]


2016-05-04

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]


2016-03-11

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]


2016-02-05

”A university without research is a bad university. A university without teaching is no university at all!” This is a quote from the Rector Magnificus at Twente University in the Netherlands, during a discussion we had at their...[more]


2015-10-30

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...[more]


2015-10-28

September was a month full of travel. It started with a meeting about ESS in Bilbao, where I represented Lund University. There is plenty going on with ESS right now, and it’s high time for a strategic collaboration – not just at...[more]


2015-09-21

Last Friday Akademiska Hus hosted an opening ceremony for the new decks down at the campus lake “sjön Sjön”. I have to say it looks fantastic. Thank you! Along with Helsingkrona’s new building, it feels like the engineering...[more]


2015-09-01

It’s wonderful to see the engineering campus full of life again! Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming all of our new students at the Faculty of Engineering LTH. As I left for the Union Building shortly before 8am last...[more]


2015-06-10

We’ve just had a few weeks filled with celebrations – graduation ceremonies, the doctoral conferment ceremony, diploma presentations and a range of other events. I have also had the pleasure of opening the architects’ and...[more]


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Viktor Öwall
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering LTH

Viktor's book recommendations