I’m proud to be the dean of a faculty with such successful and committed colleagues. I’m proud to be part of SLU, one of the world’s top universities in forest research and ecology, with world-class degree programmes that challenge and question.
In the world of research, opinions often differ. Between universities, but also between researchers at the same university. And that’s how it should be. That’s what drives science, and societal development, forward. It’s also part of the core values for government officials as the work of universities is based on objectivity and the free formation of opinion. The environmental assessment carried out at SLU also has a disciplinary foundation. Long series of data describe how Sweden’s environment and natural resources have changed over time. This is open, available data used in research all over the world, but also as official statistics for Sweden.
All Swedish universities share the task of collaborating with the surrounding community. This requires action. Research must be put to good use and benefit society. This is part of the Swedish model. Through state grants to research, made available through various funding bodies, important areas are highlighted as worth researching. Regardless of who provides the funding, Swedish researchers always own the intellectual property rights of their findings. From an international perspective, this is unique, and part of the Swedish model for making science contribute to societal development.
A small share of the research conducted at SLU is funded with money from companies and businesses. At the S Faculty, this figure is roughly 4 per cent. Other parts of research are funded by stakeholder organisations or private gifts. This is not unique to SLU. Swedish research funding is a collaboration between government and non-government actors. Scientific integrity remains intact regardless of where funding comes from, all in line with our core values.
I’m happy to see that there is considerable interest in society for the issues that we’re all passionate about. We should also be thankful that what we do is the subject of inspection. In an open democracy, the public sector must be able to withstand public scrutiny. All government agencies must be questioned and evaluated. This gives rise to new questions, and it drives us forward. That way, we become better and more efficient and can provide a better service for citizens and the surrounding society. Having the sustainable use of our natural resources high on the agenda benefits SLU. It is our task to contribute to Sweden, and the world, taking the next step towards a sustainable world. Our knowledge and competence are needed.
Wishing you all pleasant and restful summer holidays,
Göran Ericsson, dean, Faculty of Forest Sciences