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Good results despite the pandemic

Sometimes, I am amazed that we’ve been living in the shadow of the pandemic for almost a year now. A year of changes, new solutions, cancelled meetings and uncertainty.

Nonetheless, our annual report for 2020 shows that KTH has managed reasonably well. KTH Annual Report (in Swedish).

The number of applicants for our various different study programmes who put KTH as their first choice, increased from 5,706 to 6,327. As usual, the most attractive programmes were Architecture, Computer Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Management and Engineering Physics. Our new Master of Science in Engineering Mathematics was also very popular. Our English language one and two-year Master’s Programmes also attracted many applications compared to the year before.

Exchange activities have for self-explanatory reasons, been badly affected however, and many students who had planned to study abroad were forced to rethink.

The number of students completing their degree is roughly the same level as the year before. In the case of Master of Science in Engineering degrees, the proportion of female graduates has increased slightly from 35 to 37 percent. Among the architects where women are overweighted, there was a slight movement in the other direction from 57 percent female to 55 percent in 2020. While these are small changes, they are worth noting as they show that we are on the right track in efforts to make KTH accessible to all.

Last March, almost exactly one year ago, we switched all our programmes to remote learning and in so doing, began our journey to an increasingly digitalised learning environment. However, we are never going to entirely replace the physical presence, the proximity and meetings on our campuses with their digital equivalents. No, we are going to combine the best of both worlds to build the learning of the future.

I continue to scroll further through our near 100-page annual report. External financing for research has fallen and direct government funding has not been able to be utilised in full as the switch to digital education has to a certain extent, taken the time and focus of our teachers away from research due to the demands of education. At the same time, resources have been made available for important Covid-19 research where KTH has been very successful. I can say not without pride, that KTH can mobilise its research quickly and effectively.

For many of us, not being able to meet fellow students or work colleagues for a year can feel draining and the lack of contact tiring. Even so, we have delivered and I look forward to coming semesters and years of development and new meetings.