“We aspire to be a top university”
Increased interaction with society, the business community and other universities both in Sweden and other countries. That will take KTH to a top position among the European universities. Vision 2027 provides direction for the work over the next 15 years.
In addition to the development plans that are usually drawn up every four years, for the first time KTH has also developed a more long-term plan. Vision 2027 will serve as a guide with regard to the critical choices that await.
“Many of the decisions we make today have long-term consequences. It is therefore important that everyone at KTH knows in which direction we want to go,” says President Peter Gudmundson.
The objective is that KTH in 2027 will be one of Europe’s leading technical universities in both research and education. A technical university with international excellence "renowned for having taken the lead in global challenges" and a "coveted partner in European and international research projects."
“Yes, you must aim high. We aspire to be a top university. But it also requires cooperation at many levels. Future major challenges such as energy issues, for example, will require major multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research projects,” says Peter Gudmundson.
A keyword in other words is synergies. Strategic alliances with selected universities and joint training programmes in strategically important parts of the world will help KTH to adopt a prominent role in the international arena.
Higher status for teaching
Collaboration with other universities is important even in Sweden. Cooperation with Stockholm University and Karolinska Institutet may even be moving towards an organisational merger.
“We believe that there will be even closer co-operation but it is difficult to know in what form,” says Peter Gudmundson.
The vision also states that other alliances have been created with other Swedish universities so that national funding has full effect. KTH places emphasis on education at second-cycle level and third-cycle level and recruits an increasing proportion of its students at an advanced level from other universities.
"The reason is that we are very strong in research, that is where we have our competitive advantages. Many other universities can also provide education at a lower level. We therefore expect an expansion of students at the advanced level,” says Peter Gudmundson.
The vision pays a lot of attention to education, and not just at KTH. In 2027, KTH will play an important role for teacher training in technology in Sweden, with the right to hold examinations that will be conducted in close contact with the school. The university’s teacher-student ratio has increased, and the status of teaching has been raised.
“We want to award a greater status to teaching skills, become better at appraising successful teachers. Today, it feels as though only successful researchers are being recognised,” Peter Gudmundson explains.
KTH will be bilingual
The university's strong educational and scientific expertise and the close contact with research mean that educational programmes at KTH are regarded as exclusive. KTH's network with the employment market also helps to attract an increasing amount of international students to second-cycle courses.
This diversity is also reflected in the faculty in KTH's vision. More women, more researchers/teachers with experience and careers from other parts of the world and more who have gained experience in research and development work outside of academia, have stepped through KTH's doors.
“We want to a greater extent, to be able to evaluate other qualifications other than scientific publications in order to be able to employ more researchers from the business community. Being able to attract the best researchers and teachers, wherever they come from is what is needed in order to take the lead,” says Peter Gudmundson.
By 2027, KTH will be bilingual. This means for example that we will be able to deal with all decisions in two languages.
“It's a huge assignment and I'm not entirely sure that we will get there by 2027. We will not achieve all of our goals; this is not usually the case. And if you do achieve all your goals, you have set your targets too low,” says Peter Gudmundson.
The President’s own idea
The year 2027 has been chosen to highlight that KTH will learn from history at the same time as it focuses on the future. That is the year KTH will celebrate its 200th anniversary.
“In the immediate future, the vision will be made tangible in the new development plan for the years 2013-2016. The vision will also be communicated to KTH’s employees, for example via the web. But the vision is already pretty well established,” Peter Gudmundson points out.
“The work with the vision has been going on for almost a year and we have been really careful about being open with regard to the process.”
It was the President himself who took the initiative that KTH would develop a long-term plan. This type of document is still very rare at Swedish universities, but is found at some universities in Europe, he says. For example, TU Eindhoven which KTH cooperates with.
“We will be facing many major decisions in the coming years. It is therefore important to clarify our objectives. I also think that the very process of developing such a vision is useful in itself, that you let go of the daily routines and try to think ahead.”