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Academic leadership in times of transformation

Will universities as we know them survive the 21st century? How can universities contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals? How will education be transformed in a digital era? These are some of the issues that academics address in the recently published anthology Academic Leadership in Times of Transformation – the outcome of a three-year international project

Calieprojektets logotyp

In the new anthology, Renewing Higher Education: Academic Leadership in Times of Transformation, some 25 academics from Sweden and the United States write about how universities can and should respond to both threats and opportunities resulting from societal and technological changes. Whereas some of the contributions are predominantly idea-driven and conceptual, others deal with concrete processes of change within individual universities.

Commenting on the work of the project, Professor Astrid Söderbergh Widding, President of Stockholm University, emphasized the importance of international research collaboration in the face of rapidly changing societies, economies and labour markets:

“I firmly believe that higher education is the most important task for universities. I therefore particularly value the emphasis within the CALIE Project on academic leadership and renewal related to education. With the pandemic crisis, the urgency of international collaboration has also come into focus.”


An anthology on the future of higher education

The anthology focuses on innovation and leadership in higher education and addresses the following broad questions: 

  • Which structural and cultural characteristics within a university support – or inhibit – change?
  • How can the role of collegiate bodies and the mandate of academic leaders to drive development be clarified and strengthened?
  • With respect to academic freedom, how can the anchoring of strategic choices among faculty and students be enhanced?
  • What can universities do to reach their potential for interdisciplinary education and research?

The anthology is available online at:


Closing conference and video presentations by leading academics

In addition to the anthology, a final conference hosted by Stockholm University and entitled Academic Leadership and Strategic Renewal of Education in Challenging Times, gathered over 100 participants from 39 higher education institutions. Speakers included representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Swedish Embassy in Washington DC, the European Commission, and partner universities from Sweden and the USA. A selection of presentations from the event can be viewed online at:


More information

CALIE: the Sweden-USA Project for Collaboration, Academic Leadership and Innovation in Higher Education is funded by Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency. It was launched in 2019 and is a joint effort by the universities in Gothenburg, Lund, Stockholm and Uppsala, together with UC Berkeley, Stanford and the University of Washington.