The changes have been made according to the University’s stated strategy to develop and streamline its operational support. External Relations and Communications was established in 2015. Last year the University leadership conducted a planned follow-up of the department. This follow-up led to the changes which went into effect 1 July.
“These changes are the result of a substantial process that began with an external review which was then discussed in various internal forums”, says Eino Örnfeldt, University Director.

New communications department

The university leadership has chosen to create a closer connection between communications and the leadership. Therefore, Communications has become its own department with the mandate of focusing on supporting three types of communication: research, student, and internal.
A newly appointed director of communications should have started in August, but chose to take a position elsewhere. Because of this, the service of the former director of communications, Linda Carlsson, was extended, but she left SU in the middle of October to become the director of communications at UHR. Until a permanent director of communication begins – hopefully in spring 2021 – Liselott Törngren from Gullers Grupp will act as the director of the Communications Office.
“We’ve started a new round of recruiting”, says Eino Örnfeldt, “Meanwhile, we will lay the best groundwork for all of the communications work with two additional investigations”.

Two investigations

The President has decided that external investigations should be conducted to determine how communications work can be best coordinated and developed. The investigators are Ingrid Persson, Communications Manager at Malmo University, assisted by Mattias Samuelsson, Gullers Grupp.
This investigation will include a proposal for how the university can streamline and create synergies between communications at different levels and different parts of the university based on the Strategies and the new Communication Office’s mission to focus on research communication, student communication, and internal communication. According to a leadership decision, the university’s budget should be balanced in 2023. The investigation will also propose actions meant to decrease costs for communications as a whole.
To these purposes, the University Director tasked Director of Communication, Linda Carlsson, with conducting a deeper investigation of how to develop internal communications in the administration, with an eye toward the university’s activities as a whole. Matthias Samuelsson took over this task when Linda Carlsson left SU. In this way, the investigations can be coordinated well together. Both will be submitted by 18 December.
“Together the investigations will clarify the strategic communication aims for both the university and the Communications Office. Even when it’s about how to organise activities and what areas to prioritise, our hope is that the investigations will show us the way into the future”, says Linda Carlsson.

Collaboration support close to research

Since 1 July, support for collaboration and innovation has moved in closer contact with research, and the former Research Support Office is now the Office for Research, Engagement and Innovation Services. Collaboration support will from now on focus on collaborations with the city and region, as well as the other centrally prioritised collaboration projects.
“This autumn we will focus on integrating our department’s different activities to optimise the support we give and the value it provides”, says Maryam Hansson Edalat, Director of the Office for Research, Engagement and Innovation Services.
The Communications Office and the Office for Research, Engagement and Innovation Services have been located together in Bloms Pavillion since September.
Innovation support has been active since 1 July, based on the two science areas and the impact of research and collaboration outside of the academy. Fundraising has been discontinued, in favour of maintaining good relations with research foundations. The new, expanded department also has a person responsible for collaboration agreements.

To other departments

Alumni Activities is now an integrated part of the work with students and, since 1 July, is part of Student Services. Conference Services and Event Management are located under Property Services, as is Art Curation. Academic Celebrations is now under the Office of the President.