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Head of Department letter December 2021

Dear Colleagues,

On Friday the 17th of December, the Board of the Department of Physics decided on the formation of a Department Research Committee, from 1 January 2022. The new committee shall be a preparatory and advisory body for the Board of the Department and the Department Management. The committee’s tasks comprise, among others, to work with the Department’s research strategy and the recruitment plan linked to the strategy; to prepare the Department’s recruitments of professors, senior lecturers, senior assistant lecturers, lecturers and guest teachers and to ensure that the recruitments are based in the Department’s research strategy and recruitment plan; to anchor the recruitments of teachers in our undergraduate education and to analyse them from an equal opportunities perspective; and to work with external monitoring and based on such an analysis suggest teacher recruitments. The Department Research Committee will be an important body!  

What’s then the reason for forming such a committee? Partly, the decision is a consequence of that the Board of the Department has found that many decisions on the announcement of teacher positions has taken place in an ad hoc fashion. On an individual basis, the announcements have typically been well thought through on research group or research division level – but the totality position announcements at the Department has not. Partly, the decision is a consequence of we feel that we lost some ground in relationship to how successful our research activities are.[2] We do have a good standing even today, many times our research is distinguished and sometimes it is even brilliant. At the same time this is less often the case than some ten or twenty years ago. Naturally, we need to realise that success is always measured relative to the surrounding world. And in research, the surrounding world has developed tremendously during the past years. In many ways, it is a question of fate how well we do in our research (and, likewise, how well we do in our undergraduate education – but this is a question for a different Head of Department letter). By no means fate is predetermined, however, but it is a question that we can work on. Indeed, this is something that we do all the time at many different levels. The Department Research Committee implies that we now have a new tool that will help the Department to develop in a systematic and strategic way. An extremely exciting work lies in front of us!

In a very different and much more negative way, the pandemic implies a lot of tension. How will our work situation look like after the winter holidays? I do hope very sincerely that we will be able to continue in a way that’s similar to the one we’ve experienced during autumn. At least I feel that it has been rather liberating that we’ve been able to go back to a more normal mode of work than during the spring term. But we have for sure learnt a lot about distance teaching and digital ways of teaching. Elisabeth Nilsson works (at a distance!) on an inventory of our experiences, and she’ll tell us about her findings at one of the Tuesday seminars – Mötesplats Rydberg – in spring. Please come, physically or digitally! But before that we’ll have winter holidays. Enjoy the free days and the opportunity they imply to do other things! Vacation is good!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


[2] Here’s some reading:…