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Collaboration with industry – a days experience in Avesta

Collaboration with industry is one of the important factors for a successful technical university. This can take place in so many ways as I experienced yesterday when I visited Outokumpu Stainless in Avesta. I had three meetings planned: 1) a discussion about how we could use slag as a replacement for lime in a neutralization process, 2) a discussion with an industrial PhD student, and 3) a visit to the plant to spot study the AOD reactor. Note, during the plant visit I proudly wore my safety jacket with a KTH logo on for the first time! My colleague Anders Tilliander came up with the idea. It turned out to be a great idea since I got many positive comments and people knew where I came from.

The first example on collaboration involves one of our PhD students, Leo Carlsson, who was on the same morning train as me. His research topic is machine learning big data related to metallurgical industry. The last two years he has spent on trying to model the energy consumption in an electric arc furnace, which is an important reactor in the circular economy since it uses recycled metallic scrap as a raw material. Leo’s results are promising but in order to better understand the reliability of the huge amount of input variables he uses, he decided to sit together with the operators during a day to learn more about input variables that they use to control the process. Thus, the purpose is of course to make sure that the theoretical model he has developed will be of use in the production. This close contact with the industry is important when introducing new concepts in production. I am sure he will be back many times before finishing his PhD!

Another example of how we can collaborate with industry is also from yesterday and connected to the visit in Avesta. In arecent VINNOVA project, KTH was granted a project to study how if it is possible to use vibration measurements to indirectly determine how much gas that is injected in to liquid steel. This is a challenging task and it includes deep knowledge on processes, measurement techniques, signal treatment as well as how this information can be coupled to machine learning theories. The project is led by Nils Andersson and Björn Glaser. They spent yesterday in Avesta to spot suitable places to mount the vibration measurement devices and are doing the same thing today at Uddeholm in Hagfors. The project is a collaboration with machine learning experts at Luleå university and measurement experts at SWERIM as well as a collaboration with a handful of Swedish steel companies. This is a typical example on how universities, an institute and several industrial partners can collaborate in studying industrial relevant projects.

A third example of how we can collaborate with industry is related to the PhD education. In one PhD course at the materials science and engineering department the focus is on production technology and how it is necessary to combine economical aspects to technical aspects in the working life to come up with sustainable and profitable solutions. The two PhD students Carrie Jonsson and Amanda Vickerfält also visited Outokumpu yesterday to study the electric arc furnace process in order to better understand the practical aspects before completing their project report.

My last example of how important it is with collaboration between KTH and industry is from having lunch at the company. I was amazed over how many people I greeted, which had been educated by KTH. They are our alumni and I can feel the connection by their comments:

  • Hi professor are you here to get some experienceof the “real” metallurgy?
  • Pär, do you have any good students we can hire?
  • Great to see so many KTH students in the plant today!
  • How many new students applied to materials design this year?

My reflections over the day when I was on the train back home were that this extremely good and frequent collaboration KTH, and especially ITM, has with the industry and society is ot the outmost importance. People talk about life-long learning but I would like to extend it to a life-long collaboration with us at ITM (KTH) and the industry!

Pär Jönsson, Vice Dean

 

Wellness promotion to be increased to SEK 3000 per year in 2019

KTH  views health and wellness as an important concern, because employees who are fit and well have more chance of being able to meet the demands placed upon them by their work. Your health is not just a personal matter, it is also a shared resource that is crucial to the organisation’s performance. As of 2019, KTH will be increasing its wellness promotion to
SEK 3000 per calendar year and be giving staff the right to exercise during paid working hours by using a wellness hour.

All KTH employees are entitled to a wellness allowance that they canspend on activities that are approved by the Swedish Tax Agency as tax-free exercise. This includes gym visits, massages, golf, light therapy and swimming. To find out exactly what is included, a complete list can be viewed at the benefits portal KTH for me, where you can see how much of your wellness allowance is remaining.

Salary review

The salary review is now complete. This means that the new salaries will be paid on 20 December. New salaries will be paid retroactively from 1 October. All staff will be offered a meeting in the New Year regarding their new salaries, if they so wish.

All of us here at the school’s office would like to wish all staff a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Christina

Docents, important people in the PhD education

Docent is a title, which enables a person to act as a main supervisor for a PhD student. It should be noted that it is only a title and it does not influence the employment of a person. Thus, this enables external people to apply for becoming a Docent. This is a good way for us at ITM and KTH to build strong collaborations with, for example, institutes. We already know that we have many external PhD students today and for example at institutes. If we build up an improved supervision knowledge at the institute the external PhD student can get an improved supervision on the site where they are active, as a complement to the supervision from the KTH supervisor.

The procedure for becoming a Docent has changed from January 1, 2018. Similar to before, the scientific qualifications are judged by an external expert. Thereafter, the Docent Committee’s task is to judge the pedagogical aspects of the person. The committee consists of a chair person, two teacher representatives and one student representative. The latter is selected by the KTH student organization THS, but is most commonly the elective student representative for each doctoral program. Finally, if the Docent title is granted a diploma is presented at a seminar where the candidate gives a lecture.

Currently, we have a dozen of Docent applications that are in progress at ITM.  If you wish to learn more about a Docent seminar you have a chance on February 14 at 14.00. Lei Feng will give his Docent lecture and receive his Docent diploma in room B242 at Brinellvägen 83.

I also wish to inform you that Professor Natalia Skorodumova has become a new member of the ITM team this year. She will be the vice chairperson in the recruitment committee for hiring of faculty as well as for the Docent committee.

Finally, I wish to say that it is nice that the days are getting longer week by week. For me the need for day light seems to increase in importance as the year goes by. Is this a sign of that I am getting old or simply a craving for the D vitamin from the sun?

/Pär Jönsson, Vice Head of School

Information from the Administration

Harassment

With the “metoo movement”, there should no longer be any doubts that sexual harassment occurs in all types of organisation and that there is an organisational issue.

At KTH, a case management system is currently under development. KTH intends to implement a major knowledge enhancement initiative on sexual harassment as part of its gender integration effort.

Education

The examination period is coming to an end for period 1. Exams have been held, exam papers scanned, and grade registration in LADOK is underway. We are now preparing for the re-examination period in December and exam period 2 at the beginning of January.

Financial news

The school is bringing in an additional resource in connection with EU accounting. It is mainly within the EU that external funds are increasing, and this requires specific skills and experience to maintain quality in the accounting area.

Plan Edit

The school has acquired a planning tool for all the organisation’s resources, teachers, classes, subjects, groups, etc. This will give us an opportunity to obtain an overview of planned and used resources. The purpose is mainly to be able to use this in a work environment perspective. What does our employees’ work situation really look like?

Plan Edit allows real-time monitoring of scheduled resources, which gives a comprehensive overview of budgeted and used resources. The school has decided to test-run Plan Edit for 2018/19. The school will then conduct a follow-up/analysis.

Sincerely,

Christina Carlsson, Head of Administration

 

Changes to the KTH School organisation

The KTH Schools are rather different in size and also in balance between education and research. It might also be that some schools could benefit from more integration between subject areas. With this as a background, our rector Sigbritt Karlsson, took yesterday some important decisions about the future organisation of KTH. The dean of the BIO School will coordinate an investigation towards integration of the three schools BIO, CHE and STH. Similarly, the dean of the ICT School will coordinate an investigation towards integration of the three schools ICT, CSC and EES. The dean of the ECE School will investigate/propose how the ECE School should be organized in the future.

The three Schools ITM, SCI and ABE will not be directly affected, a fact which should be interpreted such that these schools are of reasonable size and with a good balance between education and research. The time plan is such that a new KTH organization should be effective from January 1, 2018, which also means that the period of mandate for the current school deans, vice deans and strategic councils are extended to December 31, 2017. In line with making the KTH schools more similar in size and structure, and with focusing on quality, the rector has also decided to investigate and propose new role descriptions for the posts as GA, FA and PA. For more information about the organisation changes please refer to:

Jan Wikander, Dean of School