Astrid Söderbergh Widding, Photo: Stockholm University
Astrid Söderbergh Widding, Photo: Stockholm University

 

Congratulations on the extended tenure! What would you say are the prioritized issues for Stockholm University during the coming years?

“Internally there is a focus on quality, in regard to both education and research. We have to make sure that the new quality assurance systems we build really are contributing to improving quality. We also have some larger construction projects underway that will contribute in the development of our work. One example is the construction of the new university area at Albano, another example is Accelerator. Collaborations with other institutions for higher education, and our visibility in the region are also highly prioritized issues.”

In a larger context, what are the major challenges facing the higher education sector right now?

“The autonomy of universities and academic freedom in general are under threat around the world today. With populism on the rise and threats against our democracy, universities have a unique position in acquiring and spreading knowledge. The transition to open science, including both open access to publications and to research data, is a highly current key topic politically and also, ultimately, a democratic issue. In Sweden, research infrastructure is the greatest challenge, where rising demands are combined with insufficient funding. The upcoming management and funding review for higher education, as well as the newly released report from the inquiry into the internationalization of higher education institutions, also contain several important topics and challenges for us and other universities.”

In meeting the challenges mentioned, what role could Stockholm University play?

“As one of the country’s largest universities we will, alongside our sister institutions, take a leading role in handling key issues and, when necessary, work to achieve policy changes.”