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Acrobatics and Awards at the University’s Annual Academic Celebration


Malmö University’s Annual Academic Celebration at Slagthuset proved to be a lively evening. In addition to the formal inaugurations and award ceremony, guests enjoyed an acrobatic performance, music and dancing.

The celebration began with the traditional procession after which the evenings hosts, Susanna Hedenborg (Professor of sport sciences) and Anders Kottorp (Dean of the Faculty of Health and Society) passed the mic to Vice-Chancellor Kerstin Tham. Tham welcomed guests with a speech that emphasised the important role of research in society, both locally and globally.

“When the future horizon is uncertain, as it is now, universities around the world have an important role in creating and sharing new knowledge needed to meet global challenges in close collaboration with other stakeholders in society. But we also need to transform ourselves, as universities, to meet future global challenges of an even more complex nature than today,” she said.

Tham’s speech was followed by a presentation of scholars who were to be appointed as professors, jubilee doctors and honorary doctors. While highlighting their academic merits, Tham also spoke of the values on which the University was founded: openness and critical thinking. This tied in with the choice of material for many of the doctoral rings this year — Humanium — a metal made from repurposed firearms.

“You should all feel very proud of your achievements on a day like this,” said Tham.

“Malmö University was founded on the human, democratic and academic values that have emerged from the ideals of an open society, free speech and critical thinking. In line with these core values, Malmö University is the first university in the world to use a material created from melted down weapons for our new doctoral rings and academic insignia. By using Humanium Metal for doctoral rings, we show that we want to contribute to a peaceful and inclusive society. Humanium Metal and the insignia both have strong symbolic significance — of safeguarding human rights, which is closely linked to our academic values.”

The Vice-Chancellor’s speech was followed by a film about Humanium and its unique qualities.

Seventeen new doctors were inaugurated during the ceremony, as well as a jubilee doctor, the University’s very first Vice-Chancellor. Nine professors were also inaugurated. Three individuals were awarded honorary doctorates: Elisabet Nihlfors and Göran Levin (Faculty of Education and Society), and Sara Ahmed (Faculty of Culture and Society). The honorary doctors have each demonstrated outstanding contributions to one of the faculty's main research areas.

The evening’s theme — ‘air’ — was was clearly displayed during the musical segment by Malmö Academic Choir and Orchestra who performed the piece ‘Stars’, incorporating glass harmonica. Following suit, Circus Saga presented an acrobatic performance alluding to the wind. Folk musicians Hazelius and Hedin also joined the choir and orchestra in playing a piece titled ‘Tilsammans’ (together).  The evening’s hosts spoke about the importance of art and culture in contributing to critical thinking, new perspectives and innovation.

Earlier in the day, before the ceremony, a lunch was held for PhD alumni from Malmö University. At this lunch, two winners were awarded ‘Best dissertation of the year 2018-2019’: Martin Grander, who researched the Swedish public housing sector, and Aleksandar Milosavljevic, who studied how dentistry assesses and treats patients with periodontitis.

The Stefan Bengtsson Research Leader Award for outstanding research was awarded for the fourth year running. This year’s award winner was Carl Magnus Olsson from the Faculty of Technology and Society, for his "great interest in, and ability to, both build research environments and to promote the University's overall interests."

Two travel grants of 50,000 SEK were awarded by Reidar Peters to doctoral students Camilla Safrankova at the Faculty of Education and Society and Annica Rosvall at the Faculty of Health and Society.

This year's recipient of the Eklund Foundation's Scholarship, awarded by the foundation’s chair, Joel Eklund, was Marie Nordström. Nordström received the scholarship for her project ‘Origins of Salutogenesis among Healthy Young Adults at a Low Socioeconomic Status in Skåne’.