SLU news

The evaluation of SLU Aqua's establishment at Ultuna is here

Published: 29 February 2024

The results from last year's surveys on the department’s establishment at Ultuna are now available. Here we present the results and how we move forward in our work. You will also get some thoughts and reflections from our Head of Department Noél Holmgren and from the head of division at the Institute of Coastal Research Ann-Britt Florin.


During November and December, we carried out two surveys at SLU Aqua. The goal of the surveys was to follow up on how the establishment of our new main office at Ultuna in Uppsala has started and how the work environment is functioning at the new main office. The surveys were sent out to everyone at SLU Aqua, but the survey on the work environment at Ultuna had a specific request for those who temporarily visit Ultuna, or work there permanently, to respond.

Reflections on the establishment at Ultuna

– 2 years after parts of our operations moved into Ultuna in Uppsala, it is both important and necessary that we together take the time to evaluate the establishment and the work environment, and at the same time reflect upon whether it turned out as we intended, if we are on the right track and if there is anything we need to change, says Noél.

The results confirm the expectations we had for the establishment at Ultuna. The expected positive effects are confirmed in the survey responses, which of course feels very good. Our ability to recruit staff and develop skills stands out as a good example, but the fact that we are now in a large academic environment contributes positively to our continued development, Noél continues.

One thing that was part of the considerations before the decision to establish the researchers at the Institute of Coastal Research at Ultuna, and at the same time keep the field and lab staff in Öregrund, was that the everyday contact between them would be reduced. In the risk analysis that was carried out prior to the decision, there are proposals for several actions that would help reduce the isolation effects. Two actions have been to encourage staff to work closely together on projects and to schedule meetings in both offices so that staff from Öregrund come to Ultuna and vice versa. Another important action has been to introduce flexible workplaces so that staff can travel between the two offices.

When it comes to the collaboration between research and environmental monitoring and assessment, we have an expected negative result and where we see that parts of the staff feel that the daily contact between these two areas has deteriorated. However, looking at our operations at the Institute of Coastal Research, we felt that the benefits of being at Ultuna and remaining on the coast outweighed the negative effect of a shared location. These two areas are completely dependent on each other and it is therefore of the utmost importance that we continue to work consciously and strategically to deepen the collaboration between research and environmental monitoring and assessment, concludes Noél.

Reflections on the work environment at Ultuna

The results of our survey on the work environment at Ultuna show that most people are satisfied with their workplace, which is a good thing. At the same time, it is nice to see that it is the colleagues, the Aqua room and the campus feeling that are highlighted as our greatest strengths at Ultuna, says Ann-Britt.

The results also show that a clear majority of those who share rooms think it works well, while some feel that there are problems with sharing rooms, especially when it comes to video meetings. The flexible workplaces seem to work well for most people, but it can be difficult to know which rooms are available. 

We will take the results with us and continue our work. Among other things, there is a need to review and improve the system with our flexible workplaces, but also to review the distribution of rooms and provide information about the tools available to improve the work environment for those who share offices. We will also address the needs of individual employees at future performance reviews, Ann-Britt concludes.


See the results from the surveys here:

You can choose to view the results in Swedish or in English (you can change the language in the top right corner after you’ve clicked on the links above).


Here you can read in-depth reports based on each survey.

What happens now?

As we have now evaluated the establishment, the Establishment Ultuna project is hereby finalized. We are now entering a state of regular operations, with standard routines within the organisation. With regard to work environment issues, the management team at the Institute of Coastal Research, together with the premises group at Ultuna, will continue to work with the results of the survey.

Coffee with the management

On the 8th of March, you have the opportunity to meet SLU Aqua's Head of Department Noél Holmgren who will present the results from the survey on the establishment at Ultuna. You also have the opportunity to ask questions about the results. The meeting will take place via Teams and an invitation will be sent out via Outlook. The meeting will be held in Swedish together with English slides.

Time: 8th of March at 9.30 to 10 am.
Place: Microsoft Teams. 


Noél Holmgren, Head of Department
Department of Aquatic Resources, SLU, +46 10 478 40 93

Ann-Britt Florin, Head of Division
Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Coastal Research, SLU, +46 10 478 41 22