An unusual year nears its end will conclude with an unusual Christmas and new year break. Covid-19 has intervened in all aspects of our lives and we are now beginning to be both used to it and tired of it.
A lot of things have been delayed this year and this affects us in various ways. It has made financial planning very difficult and that is shown in the outcome for 2020. I think it would be a good idea to pause the programme for suspension of agency capital when everything is so unstable, and I will pursue this issue in the vice-chancellor’s Management Council early next year.
Delays can also hit research itself and there are two groups who are particularly vulnerable: doctoral students and associate senior lecturers. These groups have fixed-term employment and a clearly defined requirement for what they must deliver at the end of the period. For doctoral students it is the completion of third cycle studies and for associate senior lecturers the evaluation of their efforts, which can lead to promotion and employment for an indefinite term as a senior lecturer. For both these groups there are clear rules that certain types of absence, e.g. for sick leave, parental leave or other specific reasons may entitle them to additional time to fulfil the purpose of the employment. If you consider that the pandemic has meant delays in your work, it is important that you document this for the staff appraisal with the head of department (associate senior lecturers) or follow up of the individual study plan (doctoral students).
I have taken part in a number of cordial and pleasant digital Christmas, end-of-semester and send-off celebrations in the past week. One memory that stands out is the send-off for the director of Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC), Henrik Smith who, having built up CEC over a period of ten years, is now handing over the reins to Per Persson. Henrik will still be a key person for CEC, and as chair of the board he will lead the strategic work.
Before all that starts, I would like to wish him and all of you a tranquil Christmas break. See you again in 2021 when we will be reinvigorated to address the opportunities and challenges of the new year.
Sven Lidin, dekan