The digital transformation is a profound and global societal change that has a major impact on our everyday lives. As a university, it creates many new opportunities for us, but it also imposes new demands on every part of our organisation. This focus area covers how our organisation is choosing to use the opportunities of the digital transformation to benefit our activities and to create the right conditions for the development and use of digital technology.
SLU contributes to the digital transformation and uses it to support the transition to a more sustainable society and increase the quality of our activities.
Activities for focus area 2 (in Swedish, pending translation to English)
a) SLU makes full use of the opportunities of digitalisation in its education, research, and environmental monitoring and assessment.
b) The content of the degree programmes is adapted to students’ future professional roles in the digital society.
c) SLU is on the cutting edge of research related to digitalisation within our areas.
d) SLU has developed the infrastructure and system capacity and ensured the necessary competence and expertise to meet the opportunities and needs of the digital transformation.
There is great potential in applying the opportunities of digitalisation to education, research and environmental monitoring and assessment at SLU. Digitalisation also creates new conditions for collaboration and internationalisation. As a tool, it is crucial to achieving the vision of an SLU that is a driving force for local and global science and education-based development aimed at promoting sustainable life.
SLU makes full use of the opportunities of digitalisation in its education, research, and environmental monitoring and assessment.
SLU is at the forefront of digital development in, for example, forest resources, biodiversity, animal health and aquatic environments. We will use this knowledge and experience to become a leader in digital development in all our areas. Strategic collaborations will be necessary to achieve this. An important component is how computer-driven science, machine learning, and other emerging technologies in the field of AI can be used to develop new knowledge that underlies the interpretation and understanding of complex systems. The large amounts of data generated in our research and environmental monitoring and assessment can be used for this.
Digitalisation will also contribute to open science, where information and the communication of research results and open data are made available, refined and adapted for stakeholders and society at large. Digitalisation has radically transformed the possibilities of communicating and cooperating remotely. These opportunities must be developed and used to a greater extent within SLU, thus allowing us to overcome geographical barriers and contributing to the achievement of ‘One SLU’. In this effort, the experiences we have gained in the spring of 2020 will be an important contribution.
The digital transformation also provides opportunities to conduct teaching in new ways, in digital learning environments. When used wisely and in relevant contexts, it can provide higher quality than traditional forms of teaching. This may be particularly important to SLU’s expanded efforts to make our degree programmes available both nationally and internationally and to contribute to lifelong learning, for example through open education. One important goal is to learn as much as we possibly can from the digitalisation of our degree programmes that occurred in the spring of 2020.
The content of the degree programmes is adapted to students’ future professional roles in the digital society
The digital transformation also has a profound impact on the content of education at SLU. In this context, perhaps the biggest challenge is to determine how SLU's degree programmes can prepare our students for a future professional role in a society that has been transformed by the digital revolution. This imposes great demands on the content of all our degree programmes, as well as the professional development of our teachers. The development of SLU’s degree programmes is necessary in order to integrate subject areas such as technology and digitalisation in relation to our strengths.
SLU is on the cutting edge of research related to digitalisation within our areas.
SLU is well positioned to spearhead research in our areas of activity related to the opportunities of digitalisation, both internally and in collaboration with other higher education institutions, public authorities and industry actors. The possible range of such efforts is large, and may include new research into the potential of digitalisation in our areas of activity, e.g. data-driven life science, and the impact of digital transformation on sustainable production systems and natural resource management, as well as social and ethical aspects of digitalisation. As an important prerequisite for this endeavour, we must ensure the long-term availability of necessary competence and expertise within this field at SLU.
SLU has developed the infrastructure and system capacity and ensured the necessary competence and expertise to meet the opportunities and needs of the digital transformation.
The development of digital infrastructure, technologies and systems, including sustainably secure digital services that protect the privacy of their users, is essential to our future operations and requires continuous work. Crucial factors in this focus area include access to computational capacity and capacity related to data storage and networks, digital communication solutions, and systems for the dissemination of results and data from research and environmental monitoring and assessment. Other important elements include the development of operational support via well- functioning and resource-efficient digitalised support processes, as well as competence development and assistance relating to the use of digital infrastructures.