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Digital ministerial visit on the corona pandemic

Published: 1 June 2021

EU Minister Hans Dahlgren and Minister of Higher Education and Research Matilda Ernkrans, spoke with students and management at Luleå University of Technology on Monday. The focus was on how students and activities experienced the situation at the university during the covid-19 period.

The students and student unions at Luleå University of Technology received great praise from Matilda Ernkrans for how they overcame the special challenges of being a student during the covid-19 period, and that they took great responsibility for their own and others' health. The Minister addressed in particular the difficulties and challenges of being a new student at a university during the pandemic.

Norrbotten's role in climate change

Issues that the ministers discussed with the university management were Norrbotten's role in the major climate change and what Luleå University of Technology is doing to facilitate it. They highlighted the important role and role of Luleå University of Technology in the major industrial change, including with regard to Northvolt and the hydrogen investments in northern Sweden. During the meeting, the ministers also discussed the importance of the Fair Adjustment Fund (JTF), which will provide support to member countries and, above all, to the areas and regions where the impact of climate change is greatest, for example in the conversion of fossil-dependent industries.

EU Commission meeting in Kiruna

The conversation was also about how important a Space Node in Kiruna is for Sweden as a nation. In October, the government announced that it will invest 90 million in the space base Esrange for infrastructure for satellites, something that is important for Sweden to be in the lead in Europe. The first meeting with the EU Commission when Sweden takes over the EU Presidency in 2023 will take place in Kiruna, which was also touched on as something positive.

Students' own question time

During the conversation between the ministers and the 20 or so students who participated in the digital meeting, the increased state subsidy to the unions and the positive significance it has for the unions and their independence in relation to the university was discussed. Other things that were discussed were the students 'mood during the pandemic and how one can generally work to improve the students' mood during the study period, and what investments are made specifically at Luleå University of Technology.

The students also asked the ministers a little more personal questions about their own study time and how they got involved in associations and student unions. Both ministers had had different types of involvement during their studies that they had benefited from in their later careers, such as leading meetings, for example.