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On the sunny side – despite covid-19

I always feel a touch of scepticism when people say think positive and everything will be alright. But when you think about the situation today, I expect it’s more like an obligation. So I give it a try:

SciLifeLab is  celebrating 10 years. This unique and globally-recognised institution attracts researchers from  around the world. The Human Protein Atlas, celebrating 20 years,  has astonished the world and helped a great number of researchers make progress in the hunt for solutions within medicine and health.

When I think about it, there are plenty of pleasing successes you could add to the list:

KTH coordinating a major initiative, called Blue Food, in sustainable seafood is good news, as is the fact that we are involved in a fossil fuel free steel manufacturing process that is unique to Sweden. Or why not the news of the work on the development of the world’s first electric road? (In Swedish)

I am always just as proud and sometimes taken aback by what research in general and research at KTH in particular can achieve.

Also on the sunny side we can naturally include our hardworking teachers and you could say they accomplish amazing deeds in the face of changing circumstances, such as last spring, when the situation was constantly changing, from one day to the next. Not to mention all our other employees, including those that have been on campus every day to ensure everything keeps running, and those that are now working from home. And our students of course who are doing their best to build their knowledge and  and in so doing, be able to help build the future even though it is very definitely not business as usual right now.

There have been plenty of government press conferences in the last few days. Discussions about whether or not face masks should be mandatory and different recommendations that follow on from each other. Like a kind of mantra, they say doing the right thing should be easy enough. But I think it is difficult to understand this patchwork quilt of rules and regulations.

KTH operations are not affected by the governments’ proposal of limiting public meetings to eight people. But we are doing our best to follow these prescriptions, as we understand how they apply to higher education.

But the way I interpret this is that we should ensure that we manage our campus operations in a way that reduces the risk of infection as far as possible.

Our business has been conducted as safely as possible since the start of the autumn term 2020, and we always ensure this. Those who can work from home do so after consultation with their immediate superior and otherwise we will support those who are in place. Our mission, which is aimed at all our students, means ensuring the highest quality of education even in these times. This means that certain practical elements, like laboratory work must be done on campus.

We are currently living in a kind of twilight zone where, on the one hand, many people feel a grinding fatigue and are working with a low intensity crisis awareness. The adrenaline-fuelled power from spring has perhaps been replaced by something else.

On the other hand, our brief of providing research and education means we are an essential business – not only to ensure our students gain a competitive education that is up there with the best globally – but also because our research and its crucial results are vital. For our present and the future that is guaranteed to come – regardless of the coronavirus.