The picture shows a woman with short hair, wearing a black cardigan.

Professor Lena Mäler. Photo: Sören Andersson

As you probably know, I am the new Dean of the Faculty of Science and Deputy Vice President for the Science area. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and my colleagues within the leadership of the faculty. Furthermore, I would like to highlight some of the challenges that we are already discussing within the Science area. 

The faculty leadership consists of the Dean, the Deputy Dean, four Section Deans and the Chair of the Advisory committee for undergraduate studies. Together, we constitute part of the Board of Science, the decision-making body at faculty and area levels. As for myself, I am a Professor of Biochemistry and have earlier served as the head of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. During the last three-year period I was Deputy Dean of the faculty. 

Martin Jakobsson serves as the Deputy Dean and our Section Deans are Joakim Edsjö for the Mathematics-Physics section, Regina Lindborg for the Section for Earth and Environmental Sciences, Erik Lindahl for the Chemistry section, and Catarina Rydin for the Biology section. Alasdair Skelton serves as Chair of the Advisory committee for undergraduate studies, which is also led by Deputy Chair Niklas Janz. In early February, the Board of Science convened for its inaugural meeting of this term of office, traditionally held as a retreat. Retreats provide time for us to get to know each other and discuss important matters in more detail. We discussed the faculty's action plan, focusing both on its implementation and future strategic considerations.

Topics that we discussed specifically included cooperation with other sectors and our work concerning information and communication with other sectors in society. The area has a number of committees that prepare various issues for the Board. Issues can be raised from the committees to the Board of Science and the Board of Science can give assignments to the committees. Cooperative efforts are primarily overseen by the Cooperative Committee and communication initiatives are overseen by the Information Comittee, and it is important that their work is given adequate attention at the Board of Science meetings. 

The faculty has also held a meeting for the Heads of Department. Among the information points, I would like to mention a memorandum from the government regarding increased mobility during the early stages of an academic career. The proposal consists of two parts: expanded opportunities for joint appointments between the university and other sectors, and changes in the time limit after a Ph.D. degree for a person to be considered for an assistant professorship. According to the proposal, the university would be able to decide whether the time limit should be five or seven years within different science areas. The Science Area generally views both aspects of the proposal positively. 

Another issue that I have raised, both at the Board of Science, in the meeting with Heads of Departments, and on other occasions pertains to finances. We continue to face economic challenges due to rising costs and increased rents and we naturally take this seriously. Nonetheless, our departments and centers must be able to make important strategic investments, such as hiring skilled teachers and safeguarding doctoral education. It is essential to seize opportunities presented by external programs and initiatives in this regard. In the long run, I believe this is vital for how our operations and economic conditions can be developed in the best possible way. 

A little more than two months have passed since I and the new Board of Science took office. I am still new in my role as Dean and Deputy Vice President and our work has only just begun. I look forward to collaborating with you, the Board as well as Departments and Centers, to further develop the Science Academic Area's efforts in both research and education. 

Best regards,
Lena Mäler