When approaching a new year, each of the KTH schools signs a contract with our rector about the next year’s activities. On the educational side our mission is rather stable from year to year in terms of number new students and target numbers for graduations. For 2016 there is one major new activity, namely the start-up of the new BSc/MSc program on Industrial engineering and sustainability. The new program will be hosted by our campus in Södertälje. Associate professor Pernilla Ulfvengren has been appointed as program manager. Take a look at the program.
On the research side the operations contract is subject to more of “negotiations” about new research initiatives and new faculty positions which the different ITM departments put forward. If approved, new initiatives are usually funded for a period of two to five years. The process is roughly as follows;
Our rector announces the amount of financial resources that are available for new initiatives for the coming year and which the central priorities are. The total amount is determined on the one hand by any changes in the resources allocated to KTH from the ministry of education and on the other hand by the amount set free by earlier initiatives that end. For 2016 45 MSEK where available for the whole of KTH.
The ITM departments propose to the School which new initiatives they would like to see. Based on these proposals a rather transparent and open discussion and prioritization is taking place in the ITM management group. After this, a final prioritized list is defined as the ITM proposal to the rector. For 2016 ITM submitted a list with 17 different initiatives amounting to 10.3 MSEK for 2016 and 48.8 MSEK for the period 2016-2020.
The rector’s office (rector, dean, accounting….) then goes through proposals from all the schools and comes back with a proposed operations contract for each school. What the rector proposed for ITM for 2016 is an exception in the sense that the proposal goes beyond what we expected. The allocation in the contract is 9.9 MSEK for 2016 and 41.1 MSEK for the period 2016-2020.
Being FA (director of 3rd cycle studies) and professor means that my schedule is usually quite dense. Last week me and my PhD-student Sedi, organized a small international workshop dedicated to the development of a new generation of thermodynamic data for the elements – clearly an activity that had very little to do with being FA. Fortunately, since mid-September I have a vice FA, Rahmatollah Khodabandeh. Rahmat is an associate professor at the Department of Energy Technology and we now share the duties as FA. We have divided the work such that Rahmat takes care of the students in the doctoral programs Energy & Environmental systems (EGI), Production Engineering (IIP), Machine Design (MMK) and I take care of Industrial Economics & Management (Indek) and Engineering Materials Science (MSE). Rahmat will update the ITM home page concerning doctoral studies and I take care of the rest of the work e.g. the annual PhD-student conference.
The PhD-student conference is an annual lunch to lunch conference for the PhD students at ITM with priority given to new students. Every year there is a specific theme, 2015 it was Gender Equality and Diversity. Prof. Anna Wahl was invited to talk about gender and diversity in organizations and Pelle Axnäs’ theater group gave a much appreciated interactive performance on the same theme. It was entertaining but had serious undertones and both the talk and the performance initiated very interesting discussions. The students that participated seemed to appreciate the conference and its theme and it was suggested that the theme should be fixed to gender equality and diversity since it is an important issue that concerns us all. Does this seem like a good idea?
We have a challenging time ahead us to recruit faculty to meet the future demands in teaching, research and innovation. How do we compete with other universities to attract the “brains”, “rocket scientists”, “innovators” and “pedagocical wizards”? There are of course many parameters that we need to address to accomplish this. Personally, I think we have to start from offering an attractive working environment that allows for a diversity of competences and people. If people “love” what they do they will make a better job. This, in turn will create an impact within KTH as well as outside KTH.
It is also necessary to make sure that the leadership supports the faculty so that they can fulfil their duties at KTH such as teaching, research, administration, etc. In addition, the faculty needs to have the possibilities to maintain and develop their national and international collaborations. These external contacts are of the outmost importance, for example when we try to attract new talented faculty.
When it comes to recruit new personnel it is very important that ITM supports the departments when they wish to hire new faculty. Therefore, I am very happy to let you know that we have recruited a new administrator besides Gülten Baysal at the Deans Office working with faculty recruitments, namely Anton Lagerbäck. His work will be devoted to all kinds of faculty recruitments. Thus, I am convinced that our service to our customers, the departments, will improve in the future.
I must also say that KTH has introduced new routines on how recruitments should be handled. We are trying to learn these routines to make sure that we can cut down the handling times for our recruitments. Finally, I should mention something about our recruitments. Roughly two years ago we identified that 17 professors would be retired within five years. Therefore, all departments initiated a work to identify new areas where new assistant professors need to be hired. Currently, this is ongoing at five out of six departments.
At the sixth department in Södertälje something bigger is going on! We are preparing for a dramatic expansion to extend TMT Södertälje from being not only an excellent teaching unit to also becoming a research unit. This development is led by the department head Kristina Palm. Together with me and colleagues from Industrial Production and INDEK she is preparing for a hiring of seven! New faculty the coming six months. Be sure to follow the exciting development that is taking place in Södertälje in the future.
There’s a first time for everything it seems, even at my age…. Together with the administrative management, I’m really looking forward to being involved in the ITM blog from now on.
We’ve recently been audited by the Swedish National Audit Office as well as the KTH internal audit unit on how we manage contracts related to commissions at the ITM school. The question itself was connected to the delegation order: Who signs different types of contract?
I’m sure all of you who have to arrange your new contract/agreement through the KTH organisation from time to time are fully aware – and frustrated – that this is far from easy, both for you and for those of us who work with administration. We are now reviewing all the processes involved in contract management at KTH, since it is vital that we make this area easier for us all!
The internal audit unit has given us prior information that the audit will take place in the spring at ITM and will relate to the taxation of benefits. That means that we at the Deans Office (DO) will go through all the procedures and check that we don’t miss anything that we are obliged to do as a public authority. With a bit of luck, you and we already manage these procedures so well that the audit will hardly be noticed!
We are now heading towards the end of the year and the annual accounts are approaching. We have worked continuously over the last two years on monitoring the departments, which has helped to maintain the high quality of ITM’s accounting. Apart from a few minor deviations, the budget presented at the beginning of 2015 has been kept. All the departments are in the margin between budget and planned outcome. Work has started on the budgets for 2016, now that we are coming to the end of 2015. The budget will be completed and posted in December. That budget will then be the basis for follow-up during the whole of 2016.
Another priority at DO are work environment issues. We have an ongoing project in 2015 and 2016 to develop the administrative unit managers’ leadership. We applied for joint financing for this project and it has been granted. I have worked with each unit manager to set out their own goals for leadership skills. The managers then have a personal coach who leads them toward the goals. In the administration management unit, we feel glad and confident about this project and we naturally hope that this initiative will have a good effect on our shared work environment.
Finally, I would just like to encourage you all to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions for improvement. Our goal is to ensure that we have an efficient and sustainable administration that will provide good service.