Last week I started my department visits within the Faculty of Science, a tour which will go on during the spring. First up was the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, the second largest department within the faculty and one of the strongest research environments, with prominent research on for example biological membranes, and a strong connection to the SciLifeLab. The department is the result of a merger in 2001: an excellent example of how mergers can promote departments’ overall strategic capacity.

The next visit was to one of the new departments that were set up at the turn of the year: the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, a merger of the Department of Botany and the Department of Systems Ecology. The research, which often has direct environmental and social relevance, is conducted across a broad multidisciplinary front within “green” biology. There is research on for example species interactions, climate, oceans and environment, in part carried out within the framework of two of the government's strategic research initiatives, Ekoklim and BEAM (Baltic Ecosystem Adaptive Management), and in close cooperation with Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre. The department is now waiting for a necessary co-location in a new building adjacent to the Arrhenius laboratory.

In the coming weeks I will visit the Department of Physics, the faculty's largest department, and the Department of Mathematics. As the new Vice-Chancellor, it is indeed a privilege to be able to acquaint myself with the incredibly rich and diverse activities available at the University, with both groundbreaking basic research and high quality education.