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Malmö University goes all-in on research

2018-01-02

As Malmö University receives full accreditation as a university, research becomes a major focus. Research activities will be bolstered to improve education, contribute to societal development and create new jobs in Malmö. Increased research funding has already given way to several new projects and ventures, led by the University’s Vice-Chancellor.

On January 1, Malmö University was granted full university status. The University’s research profile is one that seeks to address societal challenges of the future, while also tackling current social issues.

“We will contribute with knowledge that aims to prevent exclusion, crime, illness and polarisation in society: knowledge that promotes civic education and lifelong learning,” says Vice-Chancellor at Malmö University, Kerstin Tham.

Over the next few years, the University aims to increase its research output, establish strong research environments and create a better balance between education and research. The first steps towards reaching these goals have already been taken.

"These efforts are part of the University's bid to foster research that is innovative, internationally recognised and transnational," says Tham.

New research programmes and more jobs

Prominent research areas at the University, such as migration, materials science and the Internet of Things will be strengthened, while new subjects will also be developed. In concrete terms, this means that several new, multidisciplinary research programmes will be created, starting in autumn 2018.

As a more long-term project, the Vice-Chancellor has expressed a wish to create multidisciplinary research schools focused on thematic fields of study.

Skills supply and career opportunities are also high on the agenda. Approximately 100 new employees will be needed as a result of forthcoming research activities. Not only does this entail an increase in the number of doctoral students admitted to postgraduate studies, it also means that the University will be recruiting professors and investing in junior researchers once they have completed their PhD theses.

"It’s about creating a critical mass of researchers, teachers and students at different levels. Doctoral students are important in creating these environments,” says Tham.

Furthermore, Malmö University is investing in leadership development. Among other initiatives, Tham has appointed an Advisory Board on Research whose members consist of Thomas Arnebrant, Professor of Surface and Colloidal Chemistry at the Centre for Biofilms, and Bo Petersson, Professor of Political Science and International Migration and Ethnic Relations. Further down the line, Tham would also like to develop a research leadership programme at the University.

Millions more in government funding

Malmö University’s research funding will increase by 98 million SEK: from 139 million to almost 237 million in 2018. However, the University considers the overall amount to be insufficient and extensive work is therefore underway in order to further increase the University's research funding.

"We should get another 100 million in research funding if we are to compete at the same level as other new universities. We also need to be better at applying for funding from research councils and other national and international research financiers,” says Kerstin Tham.

In recent years, more than half of the Malmö University's research funding has come from external financiers — the Swedish Research Council being the main benefactor — while direct government funding has accounted for the other half of the University’s research funds. Malmö University plans on upholding this proportional distribution between government funding and external research grants, for the next five years.

"Of course, it will be a challenge to maintain the high proportion of external revenues, but I am convinced that it will be feasible in the long run. If we are to achieve a balance between research and education, it is important that we compete for external research funding,” says Tham.

 

FACTS

Malmö University’s research funding will increase by 98 million SEK: from 139 million to nearly 237 million in 2018. The University aims to bolster its research by:

• strengthening its five research centres;

• establishing four new multidisciplinary research programmes. The research programmes will start in autumn 2018 and receive funding for five years;

• recruiting approximately 100 new employees, including many new PhD students as well as more researchers and lecturers;

• increasing professors' research time; and

• increasing external research funding.

Text: Maya Acharya

Last updated by Maya Acharya