Three new departments from Engineering Sciences
14 January 2020
Hello there Åsa Kassman Rudolphi, head of the newly established Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 1 January 2020. At the turn of the year, the former Department of Engineering Sciences was divided up into three new departments: Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering and the Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering.
You are the head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Who are the heads of the other two new departments?
“The head of the Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering is Håkan Kullvén. The Department of Electrical Engineering has no head of Department in place just yet, but I am currently acting head of this department. We hope the new head of department will be in place on 1 March.”
Why have you implemented this reorganisation?
“We had been talking about the Department of Engineering Sciences being too big and broad for a long time, and how this had been making it difficult to work strategically and stake out a clear path forward. These thoughts were also apparent in the 2017 KoF (Quality and revitalisation) evaluation. In order to be able to grow, develop and raise the profile of different areas of the old department, we began to discuss a split into two departments. However this just didn’t feel right. But when we later began talking about three new departments, the division became more obvious.”
What do you think are the clearest benefits of the reorganisation?
“With three smaller departments, we have better opportunities for peer discussion and decision-making processes, which in turn leads to greater knowledge and engagement with issues affecting all the departments and the University as a whole. The individual employee will be closer to the Department management and thereby also to the Faculty management than in the past. We have also organised the new departments on the basis of clear themes which make it easier to develop joint research, and joint courses and study programmes at all levels.
“It's our belief that this division also provides better opportunities to expand into new research areas within the Faculty of Science and Technology and at the level of the University as a whole. This includes focuses on additive manufacturing and artificial intelligence, solar cell technology and electrified transport systems. Other areas described in ÖB19 (the review of base funding for research programmes 2019) were the development of technology in combination with life sciences, as well as security issues linked to industrial and civilian systems.”
How has the reorganisation been received by the employees?
“On the whole, the response has been positive. And then of course there were a number of units that were broken up as part of the reorganisation, where people have lost their colleagues, so obviously this makes people wonder a bit how things are going to be in the future. From having worked in a common administration with a number of finance officers and HR staff, it can feel a bit lonely being the sole specialist in a smaller department. But we are encouraging and supporting contacts and collaborations across unit, division and departmental boundaries, so that we can help each other in our activities.
“This kind of organisation also provides more opportunities for more people to take on a task themselves and contribute to the whole effort. It would be good if all employees had some small group for which they were responsible, preferably across departmental boundaries.”
Have you received any reactions to the reorganisation from outside the University, for example from industry partners?
“I know that at the new Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering, they have been out already and entered into a partnership with businesses for the new Master’s Programme in Industrial Engineering and Management. It’s my belief that collaborating with a smaller unit could be advantageous. You know what you have, what you can promise and what you can say to those businesses. In the autumn, another three new international Master’s programmes in Additive Manufacturing, Industrial Analytics and Materials Engineering will be starting up, all of which also involve industry partnerships.
“The students themselves will probably not notice much difference as a result of the reorganization. Most of our students are studying Master’s in engineering programmes that have courses that already cross departmental boundaries. Although there will be more directors of studies out in the departments, the students don’t generally encounter them. They more often meet with staff within the Faculty’s student services. So on the whole, the students won’t see much of the reorganisation.”
*Effective from January 1, 2020, the previous Department of Engineering Sciences is comprised of three new departments which include the following divisions:
Department of Materials Science and Engineering – around 170 employees: Solid State Physics, Microsystems Technology, Nanotechnology and Functional Materials, Applied Materials Science, Applied Mechanics and an entirely new division and research programme Solar Cell Technology.
Department of Electrical Engineering – around130 employees: Electricity, Solid State Electronics(except solar cell technology) and Signals and Systems.
Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering – around 70 employees: Industrial Engineering and Management, Civil Engineering and the Built Environment, and Quality Science.
More about the new study programmes:
Investment in new study programmes in the technologies of the future
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