On 1 April, Johan Dicksved, researcher at the Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, became the first vice dean responsible for research infrastructure.
“A clearer contact point for infrastructure at the faculty is a good thing. It provides a clear focus for this field, like a hub. This is important. As I’m responsible for the entire faculty, my role will be to act as a unifying force”, explains Johan.
As this is largely new territory, he finds the task something of a challenge. However, it’s clear that the animal facilities, that is Röbacksdalen, Lövsta and the VHC stables, are a priority.
“Previous deans have had infrastructure as one of their tasks, but never as their sole task, as I now have. I’m trying to figure out how to define this task, and there’s a lot I need to acquaint myself with. I must accept that I can’t do everything at once.”
On the agenda for the animal facilities is a project Johan is running together with the faculty’s heads of department and the deans, and where they’re currently discussing how to use the facilities in the best way possible, as well as how to increase use.
“There are external stakeholders interested in SLU. How can the VH Faculty increase the use of our facilities? And how can we improve the conditions for conducting excellent research there? How can we make our infrastructure more visible? There are so many important issues currently on the table.”
The question of infrastructure is really one that concerns all of SLU. Every semester, the four faculties meet a couple of times in the infrastructure council, an SLU body chaired by the vice-chancellor.
SLU strives to increase the use of existing infrastructure, thereby making them more cost-efficient. What lab analyses are there, and what could colleagues in other departments find useful?
“There, I believe we have a lot to learn. It’s very much a question of cooperation. I share a lot of interests with vice dean Renée Båge, and we both want to see increased contact with the outside world.”
Johan is still new on his post, but he’s very clear on what he wants to have achieved by the time he leaves.
“I hope my work will have a visible outcome. I want it to be evident that I’ve contributed something, and that we’re not still grappling with the same issues.”
Text and photo: Mårten Granert-Gärdfeldt.