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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Published: 19 December 2019

It's fourth Advent this Sunday, and the Christmas holidays are approaching for most of us.
When I look back on the past year, many positive events come to mind. Our new vision is what I am most proud of and I really look forward to working with you all to realize it.

We have already taken important steps with our strategic plan for the years 2020-2025, the ongoing work on identifying and describing three new future areas that will complement our Areas of excellence in research and innovation, and the call for innovative educations.

In 2019, we have coordinated and made our research in AI and robotics visible and thereby strengthened our position both nationally and internationally. This has been important given that digitalisation generally affects all our educational and research areas. Although our current profile is applied and industrial AI and robotics, we also need interdisciplinary collaborations where technology, social sciences, art, pedagogy and health work together to develop industrial and social systems that improve our lives and our societies.

The work has paid off

Over the past two weeks, our hard work has really paid off. Earlier this week we received 30 million SEK to Applied AI Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) North from The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. In addition, we received one of Sweden’s innovation agency's eight new AI data labs (AI plant for railway) and the Kempe foundation has decided to fund six post-doctoral researchers within AI.

During 2019, we have jointyly started working with the municipalities of Skellefteå, Piteå and Kiruna to strengthen their campus environments and identities as university cities. An important part of this work is to create ecosystems around the educational and research areas we have at the various places of operation, which offer unique opportunities for employees and students.

But the year has not been without challenges. The premises we rent have not lived up to the basic requirements that the landlord is entitled to offer. I want to thank you all for contributing to the relocation of offices and the densification of classrooms and labs. The University management has regular meetings with senior management at Akademiska hus and we have passed a number of our requirements and have continued negotiations on both remuneration and rent levels.

Take part of the conclusions

The process of reorganizing our educational and artistic areas, involving three institutions (KKL, ETS and HLV), has been ongoing throughout the year. Right now, the task force is summarizing its impact assessment and recommendations for the future. I look forward to reading the report and sharing the conclusions of all the interviews, meetings, workshops and other activities conducted. I hope and believe that the final result will be something that makes us stronger and better, although it will require a lot of work from many of us.

In summary, I am proud of our achievements during the year. I wish you all a good Christmas holiday and hope you have the opportunity to recharge, spend time with family and friends, eat good food and just enjoy having time off.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Birgitta

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