Thank you and best wishes for the future!

First of all I would like to thank all of you for all the good work during my years as the Head of ITM – it has been a very interesting period, challenging at times, but overall very rewarding. I was overwhelmed by the celebration on May 14, all the participants, all the presents, all the songs, all the speeches and poems, and last but not least, the toastmaster. And the movie, what a remarkable production: the overall orchestration, the comfortable storyteller, the rejoicing chorus of happy administrators, and all the nice words from colleagues. Thank you all!

On the research side, coordinator pairs have now been appointed to lead the four new School overarching research initiatives for which the School has allocated dedicated research funding. The overall effort will be supervised by our new Deputy Head of School Martin Törngren. The areas and the coordinator teams are:

  • Industrial transformation through digitalisation, renewable energy and circular economy.
    Coordinated by Antonio Maffei, IIP and Elena Fersman, MMK.
  • Integrated mechanics, components and materials design including additive manufacturing.
    Coordinated by Greta Lindwall, MSE and Raquel Lizarraga, MSE.
  • Sustainable energy systems: Technical and business perspectives.
    Coordinated by Andrew Martin, EGI and Frauke Urban, Indek.
  • Innovation eco-systems, innovation management and entrepreneurship.
    Coordinated by Jennie Björk, MMK and Anders Broström, Indek.

I am sure that Martin Törngren will come back soon with a blog post with more details and strategies for these efforts.

Finally, I am convinced that the new School head team, Pär and Martin, will continue in a spirit of engagement, collaboration, innovation, equality, inclusion, good working climate, and most importantly environmental sustainability. In case the new management team runs into unforeseen challenges, I will leave some literature on my office desk that might be of help in tricky situations. A few example titles are:

  • Crisis management, Public Leadership under Pressure
  • Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions
  • Organisatorisk resiliens – Vad är det som gör företag och organisationer livskraftiga?

Good luck Pär and Martin! And Pär, the gavel I handed over at the festivities, and which was once handed over to me by Bengt, might come in handy in critical situations.

I wish all the best for ITM in the future!

/Jan Wikander, retiring Head of the ITM School


Time to wrap up P4

A very intense period is about to be completed, and besides finishing the two courses I have been responsible for during P4, I also attended the yearly dialogue meeting focused on educational quality. Among the attendants were the Vice Present for education Leif Kari and the Dean of Faculty Katja Grillner, and the meeting gave me the possibility to describe and discuss strengths and opportunities, as well as threats, for all of the ITM School’s educations on 1st, 2nd and 3rd cycle level. The goal is that these dialogues will lead to increased quality and long term improvements. Besides this, I also had the pleasure to attend KTH’s graduation ceremony on May 29. It was a very impressive and beautiful arrangement, I really appreciated the opportunity to present and congratulate all ITM’s graduates. 🙂

Two important educational issues to emphasize

If you as a teacher have students that contact you because they haven’t registered for an exam in time, there is no idea to send an e-mail to the administrators asking them to register the student manually afterwards. This is not possible and not allowed at KTH, so instead we should refer the students to the guidelines here. There they can find information on how they should go about to try to participate in the exam anyway. The guidelines say that:

Students who have not registered for the exam in time, may write the exam if there is a free seat in the examination hall. The student has to submit a valid course registration transcript. Note! Digital transcripts do not apply in this case. 

Moreover, it is also important for us to remember that exams can only be corrected with an ink pen, and that points and grades should be clearly marked in the boxes on the cover pages. Otherwise it will not be possible to scan the corrected exams.

Animated sun holding an ice cream.But now that all of us are approaching summer vacations it’s time to summarize all P4 courses, complete the work of writing and correcting all the examination and enjoy the knowledge gained by all our excellent students when conducting their master thesis projects.

/Anna Jerbrant, Director of First and Second Cycle Education at ITM

Testing new ways of examining knowledge in the master program

A picture taken just after that the students’ visit at SMT’s plant in Sandviken.

A new examination idea

Many teachers at the ITM School often think of new ideas on how to examine the required knowledge in a course, and I am one of them. I wish to share some recent experiences. Together with my colleague Assistant Professor Björn Glaser we teach in the course Advanced Process Science. The purpose of the course is to teach students about reactor design and process control in industrial metallurgical processes. Based on their previous obtained knowledge (for example thermodynamics and kinetics), we teach them on how to apply this knowledge on current industrial processes.

During the course evaluations the last 5-8 years, the students have suggested to examine the course goals in other ways than through a traditional written exam. Based on this we have tested open 24 hours exams where students have been given the task eight o’clock in the morning and then turned in their answers 24 hours later. The responses from the students have been very positive!

In close collaboration with Sandvik

Together with the company Sandvik Materials Technology (SMT), who sponsors parts of the travels in the course, we tested a new idea this year. Previous years we have visited SMT at the end of the course. The company has presented their work on selected processes and the students have had a tour to the steel and working mills.

This year we tried out a different approach. Together with Olle Sundqvist and Fia Vikman from SMT we defined five topics for the students to work on to acquire the knowledge needed to fulfill the course goals. Olle visited KTH to give introductory lectures in January. Thereafter, the groups were formed, and one supervisor from SMT together with one from KTH were designated to each group. As next step, each group visited SMT in Sandviken to study their process part and to discuss details of the project with the supervisor.

Examination in relation to the industry

Back at KTH the students had to answer three large questions related to process control and reactor design, based on course material given in the lectures and information from the literature. The fourth question was a more open question where the students should suggest innovative solutions to improve the specific process task given by SMT.

After almost two periods of work, the student findings were presented in a report as well as at a seminar in Sandviken in May. Here, the whole project was presented for a larger audience and the performance was judged by the teachers. In a way this corresponded to our previous 24 hours exam level. In addition, the innovative solutions were discussed in detail separately in small groups including the specific supervisors. After a full day’s work in Sandviken, SMT invited the students and teachers to a fantastic three-course dinner at their restaurant.

Improved motivation and innovative solutions

Overall, our experience is that the motivation of the students was much higher and the innovative solutions were detailed and more realistic, when we used this approach instead of a traditional way of examining their knowledge. In their work they clearly showed that they used their previously obtained knowledge in coming up with innovative solution.

In addition, they also discovered that the current metallurgical tools to determine thermodynamics and kinetics cannot always be used for real industrial applications, since for example databases and knowledge are missing. One important learning was that our theoretical knowledge is not always enough to solve all industrial problems. Thus, as future engineers the students need to work hand-in-hand with skilled personnel in industry that has the hands-on knowledge to solve challenging industrial tasks!

/Pär Jönsson, Vice Head of the ITM School

Celebrating 200 years of education in Materials Science and Engineering!

Dear all,

This time I wish to tell you about the importance of 2019 for MSE, ITM and KTH. We celebrate that it is now 200 years since the King Karl XIV Johan laid the foundation for higher technical education in Sweden through the decision to establish Bergsskolan in Falun. This was later moved to Stockholm and became part of KTH. The first Professor in 1819 was Gabriel Sefström and he represents the first among many Professors related to the current MSE department.

The Department Head Annika Borgenstam and her co-workers at MSE have organized a conference to celebrate this jubilee, which will take place during June 17 and 18. The first day is devoted to the education in materials science and engineering. Here, both our President Sigbritt Karlsson as well as Annika Borgenstam will give opening speeches. Thereafter, the Director General of Swedish Council for Higher Education Karin Röding will talk about higher education in Sweden. Among the other speakers I wish to especially mention Professor Greg Olsson from Northwestern University, USA. He will present his views on Materials design: research and education – past experiences and future development.

The second day will be devoted to research. The focus will be on future research areas and the presentations are:

  • Modelling of new alloys
  • Process technology for reduced environmental impact
  • Circular economy
  • Additive manufacturing – materials and applications

The second day is also organized in collaboration with and sponsored by the KTH Materials Platform. Please join us at the conference to celebrate Materials Science and Engineering!

Sign up at here

Pär Jönsson, Vice Dean

ITM PhD Student Conference

Last Wednesday and Thursday (on April 10-11) we had the annual ITM PhD student conference at Skogshem and Wijk on Lindingö. The theme this year was equality (JML) and sustainability. Alice Marshall gave an introduction to “one KTH” followed by several group exercises/discussions. In one of them we were all supposed to stand in different corners divided in how equal we think our working environment is on a scale between 1 and 10, 10 being perfect in terms of gender equality. The choice of “environment” could be the closest group or even the whole of KTH. It was interesting to see that we were spread out between 8-9 to 2-3.

Sara Linderson shortly presented the new platform, Industrial Transformation, a platform that will coordinate all KTH researchers that in different ways support the transformation to a sustainable CO2-neutral industry. The manager of the platform is Monica Bellgran, KTH Södertälje.

In the evening, beforea very nice dinner, there was a poster session with the goal to bridge the gap between different research fields i.e. find a PhD student colleague in another area where there is some overlap of interest.

In the morning of the second day Ulf Sandström gave a lecture about the Vancouver Rules on Publishing. The rules discuss “Who Is an Author?” and the following four criteria must be fulfilled for any author:

  1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  2. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  3. Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

This is something for the students to discuss in their respective research environments and with their supervisors. It think that it is important not to be too interested in the ranking lists but to make sure that authorship and citations are treated in a correct way.

After a coffee break Hélène Hermansson gave a talk about sustainability and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG:s) and asked the participants to think and discuss how these goals can connect to their own research, both in a positive and negative ways.

The SDG:s can be found here.

Thank you all lecturers, DAs and participants!