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Researcher inspired by Pope's statement

Published Feb 23, 2015

Fredrik Lundell’s first blog post in the Swedish Research Council’s journal should really have been about his research. But then the Pope intervened.

Fredrik Lundell

When Lundell, a researcher in the field of Fluid Mechanics, was invited to be a guest blogger on the Research Council’s online journal Curie, he accepted immediately. Somewhat unexpectedly, a statement from Pope Francis became the inspiration for Fredrik’s debut as blogger – which to a large extent deals with the administrative burden borne by scientific researchers.

How are you feeling after your first contribution?
“I was thinking about the number of people who would come across the blog and if it would have any impact. So far, things have exceeded expectations.”

In the blog, Lundell testified to the ever increasing administrative burden that steals precious time from research and education. “This sickness takes over a human being”, he cites the Pope who was talking here about the bureaucracy within the Vatican, according to an article in Dagens Nyheter.

In Lundell’s opinion, the university’s administrative processes do not seem to be adapted to meet the need for support amongst teachers, education administrators and researchers.

“I myself feel – and I also hear from colleagues – how the time and tranquillity needed to ensure a good education, research of high quality and innovative project proposals is eaten up and chopped into pieces, despite the number of administrative employees actually increasing.”

He paints a picture of a working day with “more process stages, increasing lead times, ever more and longer forms, assessments as well as new reporting demands.”

“To reverse this trend in a satisfactory way, without creating further irritation between the faculty and administration – which would only serve to impede constructive collaboration – is key for KTH’s future success.”

Despite the critical approach of the first blog article, the purpose with the blog is not to stir up opinion on any subject, he states:

“It’s not my intention to pursue any specific issues. It’s only for three months, so I am focusing on sharing my everyday working life with the readers. My real idea with the blog is to tell others about my job as teacher and researcher. It shall be clear why I believe that I have one of the best jobs that exist!”

How have the reactions to the blog been so far?
“I’ve already received some acclaim for my efforts and can feature in Campi! This alone is more than I had hoped for.”

Christer Gummeson

Fredrik Lundell's blog

Article introducing the blog in Curie