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Fostering future leaders at work and g(r)o(w)ing bananas at home

Group picture

Magnus Åkesson, Claes Tissel, Ida Naimi-Akbar, Mia Hesselgren, Farazee Mohammad Abdullah Asif, Per Johansson, Nathalie Kirchmeyer, Saman Gunasekara, Fredrik Asplund, Tecla Malmström, Robert Tomkowski, Mana Farshid, Pär Jönsson. Graduates missing in the photo: Chris Hulme and Johan Lundberg.

Dear colleagues,

We have reached the end of the spring semester. This is one of the most intensive periods of the year, since we need to finish important things before we can enjoy a vacation. Many of you are involved in preparing for and correcting exams. Also, many PhD defenses are made during this period. However, this year I believe it feels a little bit easier for most of us to handle this intensive period. This is because the weather has been fantastic and we can enjoy the activities we love to do during the warm, long and bright evenings.

Battling the economic situation

Since January, all units and departments have worked with a “balanced economy”. The situation at each department is unique, and different solutions have been found or need to be found. On May 29, when we met the President for a “School dialogue” we presented the situation at each department. It was clear to him that the you, the ITM staff, do your best to assist in improving the economy. For example, we showed that we decreased the cost for offices and labs by sharing rooms. Here, I want to point out that the President is quite upset about the situation regarding the high rents, as you can read more about in his blog.

Enough is enough (blog post)

We were also able to show that we have increased the number of students. For example, the number of masters students admitted to ITM programmes have increased by 30 percent compared to last year. Strong educational efforts have been made especially at the Departments of Learning, Industrial economics and management and Engineering Design. Also, our researchers have obtained many new research contracts during 2023 and submitted many proposals during 2024. Here, especially the faculties at the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Energy Technology have done an impressive job, but also personnel at Production Engineering and Engineering Design increased the number of contracts in 2023. Despite these positive developments we will still do not reach a balanced economy during 2024! However, most of our departments will reach a balanced economy during 2025 if we continue to increase the number of students and external contracts, and at the same time continue to control our financial situation by not hiring people if there is no money, for example.

Foster future leaders at ITM

The graduation of the first class in the 13 months ITM future leader program – FLITM1- took place on Näsby Castle on May 31, see photo. The course leader Magnus Åkesson was praised by the graduation class for his ability to teach them about relevant tools for leadership development, team building, coaching etc. Thus, all these abilities which are of highest importance in order to serve as a leader. This is a unique program that has the goal to teach potential leaders relevant abilities, before they obtain leader positions. The FLITM program has been developed by Magnus Åkesson, who has a long experience working with coaching and leadership development in academia. After discussions with Anna Wahl I have also provided some ideas to the content.

G(r)o(w)ing bananas

Banana tree wanting to be planted outside, after surviving the winter in the garage.

As usual, I comment on my work as a hobby gardener at home. This year my wife thought that I have gone bananas, since I decided to grow bananas outdoors in Sweden. I have studied some different techniques on youtube to get some inspiration, but of course, most gardeners do it in warmer climates compared to ours. However, then suddenly I run in to my neighbor who is a storeowner and meet many people. He told me that he met a man that has succeeded to grow bananas outdoors in Österåker. The only problem is that it took him twenty years to get banana fruits! So, I will just have to wait and see if I live long enough to see if I also succeed…

/Pär Jönsson, Head of the ITM School

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