Last week, KTH Royal Institute of Technology was named one of the three best seats of learning in Sweden in terms of internationalisation. This is proof that all the work that is being and has been invested in making KTH more international has produced results. This is very pleasing.
Joint publications, researcher and student exchanges, and collaborations with strategic partner universities are a few of the many important pieces of the puzzle that now places KTH more firmly on the map.
But to be able to see how we are doing in relation to our global competition, ranking is an important means of measuring value – another unscientific and extremely personal yardstick is the reaction you get when you say you come from KTH Royal Institute of Technology when elsewhere in the world. The fact that KTH is well known at Harvard and MIT is clear, but we still have some way to go in making an impression in other industries.
Americans have greater confidence in the military than in universities, according to a survey referred to by Times Higher Education. Out of a sample of around 1,000 Americans, only 14 percent of them said that they have great confidence in universities, compared to 26 percent for the military, according to the survey. However, the percentage for the scientific community in general is somewhat higher, at 19 percent. The study also demonstrated major differences in views depending on origin, ideology and religion. This may seem worrying but also slightly difficult to understand when you have had the opportunity, during a study visit, to get a glimpse of the American scientific community.
KTH can benefit more greatly from the image of Sweden than it does at present. In the US, people are curious about a lot of things from Sweden. They have observed that Sweden is an early adopter of technical solutions, particularly digitalisation. We saw, for example, that the American banking sector has major strides left to take. This is why it would be good for KTH to talk more about how it turns research into benefit and how we work with innovations from research. It is well known in the US that Sweden continues to be a major player in innovation.
When we visited a number of innovation hubs, where I spoke with some people from start-ups, I saw that we at KTH can be incredibly proud of the results that KTH Innovation has had. This is yet another thing to bear in mind when talking about KTH beyond the university campus.