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Dean's bulletin

April 2017

Dear all,

This time I thought I would try to make my colleagues enthusiastic about something that many perceive as crushingly boring and perhaps even pointless, namely LUCRIS. LUCRIS is Lund University’s new research information system, and it contains information on our researchers’ projects, collaborations and publications, but also on research-related activities such as external engagement with wider society. The latter is particularly important, as the Government wants to somehow estimate the amount of external engagement accounted for by each university in the country, and use this information in the equation that determines the allocation of government funding. In other words, more funding for universities with a lot of external engagement. LUCRIS also serves as a database in which you can both internally and externally search for individuals or activities at LU which you find interesting. When we, for instance, negotiate with other countries that, at their own expense, want to send doctoral students here for research studies in Lund, we find that LUCRIS is a perfect tool. Here, the prospective doctoral student, as well as the relevant research council, can identify and contact appropriate research groups and supervisors at LU.
 
One issue is that meaningful participation in LUCRIS requires certain effort. Despite all the tools and support staff, there is still some information which can only be provided by the individual researchers themselves. However, it is only a small effort which takes no more than a half an hour. Unfortunately, this minor issue leads to a bigger problem – not everyone is on board. In this respect, the Faculty of Science is the worst at LU; only about 10% of our researchers have activated themselves in LUCRIS. Those who are outside are a lot less visible and risk missing out on opportunities. Furthermore, in time, LUCRIS will be used for evaluations, which may affect our funding. LUCRIS is reportedly the only tool LU has to evaluate our external engagement. The day external engagement is used as a parameter in the allocation of government funding, obviously some faculties will argue that such a parameter should also be used for the allocation of funding within LU to the faculties. The way things are now, this would definitely not benefit us. Although we are not there yet – we know nothing of what an external engagement parameter would look like – there is an intense discussion in progress. We will have to return to this topic later, but for now I want to sincerely urge you to tell others about your research in accordance with the approved guidelines, information and quick reference guide which can be found on the faculty’s website. There is someone at every department who is familiar with the system and can help you get started.
 
As some of you may have noticed, last week I was one of the recipients of an innovation prize at LU, and obviously I was delighted. The information shared about this, however, was not good; I tried but failed to correct it, and I feel the need to clarify. Apart from Sophie Manner (Department of Chemistry) and myself, Ulf Ellervik (Department of Chemistry, and seen on TV) and Helena Strevens (Faculty of Medicine) are also innovators in the project, and we all have an equal part in the innovation prize as well as in the other successes of our joint enterprise. The prize was worth SEK 75 000 and the entire amount will go directly to the business, and not, like some people believe, end up in the innovators’ own pockets. I am living proof of the fact that, as a university lecturer, engaging in innovations based on findings from academic research does not make you rich. What drives you is something completely different, and much stronger, than money.

 

Olov Sterner, dean

 

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