At this time of the year, moving towards brighter times is a cause for rejoicing. This year this does not only apply to our longing for daylight, but also to us gaining control of the pandemic through vaccination. The forecasts suggest that this could come about during the summer. We thus need to keep minimizing the risk of spreading the infection until the vaccination has had full effect, which will be possible thanks to everyone's responsible behavior.
There is also a high level of responsibility for our common work environment within the faculty. This is clear from the response rate in the recently conducted staff survey, where the LTV faculty had the best rate of participation of all faculties. We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all of you who responded to the survey - commitment and making your voice heard are necessary for the continuous improvement work.
Positive results from the staff survey
The results from the staff survey are very positive for SLU throughout, in comparison to previous surveys (latest 2018) and to other higher education institutions included in the comparison group. This also applies to the LTV faculty's results, where motivation, vision / goals and leadership are examples of particularly high scores, just to mention a few. The staff index shows a very positive development within SLU with the greatest improvement at LTV.
The responses from the doctoral students also point to a positive change, a target group that the faculty has devoted several measures to in recent years. Information and analyzes will follow, in order to identify priority areas for improvement and then direct them to the right level of responsibility for further actions. Information, recovery, stress and a clear organization are some examples of areas in a first early analysis that recur from previous surveys.
From the staff survey, we thus take with us a high level of motivation among the faculty's employees, which is a great asset when we look ahead for the continued development of our work. The financial statements for 2020 show that the faculty has a stable economic basis and shows continued strong growth. We can see an increase in turnover of + 5% to MSEK 579. At the same time, we have an additional 22 full-time members of staff, which corresponds to a 6% increase. It is very gratifying that both the faculty's education and research are developing in a positive direction.
Research bill 2021
Just before Christmas, the Government presented The Research and Innovation Bill Research, freedom, future - knowledge and innovation for Sweden. The investments are close to the average of previous research bills during the 2000s. Including the temporary funds, there is as much reinforcement for universities and colleges in 2021 as during the entire previous four-year period. Apart from temporary investments, the large investments are distributed via the research councils and the Swedish Research Council in particular, and are thus not allocated to strengthen the higher education institutions' basic grants, which is worrying for several reasons.
The Government presents five overall societal challenges on which the research bill is based: climate and environment, health and welfare, digitalisation, competence provision and working life, and a democratic and strong society. This suggests that SLU has good prospects of success in the calls for increased funding from the Research Councils. We hope that the faculty's ongoing strategic efforts, with focus on interdisciplinary approaches, will be able to contribute to this.
The Research Bill also emphasizes the importance of collaboration with society and business, which is therefore likely to be a requirement by research councils. Decisions on the specified investments will come later this spring.
The work of strengthening our campuses continues with increased intensity. In Alnarp, we are planning activities with heads, managers and staff during the spring, with the aim of summarizing the most important aspects before the planning of new premises and the development of the environment. On the positive side, we can see an increased need for land for the establishment of field research etc. in Alnarp. An active campus development process has also been initiated in Ultuna.
The future is very bright given the great development potential that the faculty has, based on its own strength and considering society's demands globally, nationally and regionally. The faculty's competent and motivated staff together with successful leadership speak for continued success.
Håkan Shroeder, Dean, Karl Lövrie, Deputy Dean, Åsa Lankinen, Vice Dean and Lena Ekelund Axelson, Vice Dean at the Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Science (LTV).