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LiU in 2030

What are LiU’s potential strengths and what should be given priority in the future? We are now starting to discern some answers arising from the dialogue that Vice-Chancellor Jan-Ingvar Jönsson started with co-workers and students – such as increased interdisciplinarity and new innovative study programmes.

It’s easy to see that the vice-chancellor is happy when reviewing the major strategy initiative that he took over a year ago. It has stimulated more than 500 contributions and 2,000 points of view, arising not only from many dialogues and workplace meetings, but also individual contributions from LiU co-workers and students. 
“We have collected a huge amount of background information, and have stated working with it. The final result of the work is to be a vision, Vision 2030, that clearly captures ‘This is LiU’, and determines our pathway into the future”, says Jan-Ingvar Jönsson.

Rektor Jan-Ingvar Jönsson på sitt kontor.The final formulation and adoption of the vision, however, still lie somewhat in the future. Before that, several prioritised target areas are to be defined, and then a number of strategies are to be assigned to each target area. Jan-Ingvar Jönsson can already see several very clear principal directions.
“One example is that LiU is to be the new, open and exciting university that has creative meeting places and that invites the surrounding society in to meet us. 
We must also have high aspirations in all we do, conduct excellent research, and find our place in society. And increase our international visibility.
And many people have said that we truly must turn our promise ‘Innovation is our only tradition’ into reality. We have to look at how we, co-workers and students, nurture creativity and innovation.”

The target areas will be defined in the near future. This will be followed by work to create detailed strategies and plans of action with which the university can work. So what you’re saying is that things will soon start to move at speed, because 2030 is not so far away?
“Quite right – now is the time for change. My message is that this will require a new way of working. We will give priority to certain projects now: others will eventually follow. It’s a case of finding what is unique to LiU, wielding a fearless creativity. Then we must work in a truly interdisciplinary manner, and manage all this such that it becomes more than just words.”

The need to work more horizontally, or maybe rather to regain LiU’s position as the leading interdisciplinary university in Sweden, has often been brought up during the strategy dialogue. 
“I believe that the greatest challenge is avoiding becoming bogged down in organisational barriers such as economy, personnel, etc. Such things make it immediately difficult to work in an interdisciplinary manner.”

Are there other large steps that will be particularly important for LiU in the future? Well – digitalisation is important, and a lot has happened here during the pandemic, but the vice-chancellor would rather talk about two other areas.
“The first is how we can become better at contributing to societal transformation and a sustainable society. We must make what LiU contributes in such matters more visible, not least externally. This is a wish that I have heard in many meetings with politicians, companies and other representatives for the society around us.
The second is that an overall control of our research must be in place. Increasing numbers of questions arise that the university, together with the departments and faculties, must deal with jointly in order to, for example, allocate resources. We are a large university, but we must use our resources wisely – which means setting priorities, and having the courage required to say ‘No’.

New challenges are always arising, which is both frustrating and exciting, and we must never stop striving. I hope, however, that in 2030 we have rediscovered what truly is LiU: that we are the creative university, that we have grown, that we feel proud of the benefits we bring to society, that we attract talented students and co-workers, and that we improve and bring innovation to our teaching.”

Translated by George Farrants

Photo: Thor Balkhed

Björn Stafstedt 2021-10-18

Page manager: studentredaktionen@liu.se
Last updated: 2021-10-19