Work on the coordination of a joint department – environment and climate, geology and physical geography
Research on environment and climate, geology and physical geography and ecosystem science is an area of strength within our faculty. Today, research and education in these areas are conducted mainly at the Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC), the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science (INES) and the Department of Geology. By coordinating these activities in a joint department, we can further strengthen this strategically important area.
The work during 2024
Vice-Dean Karin Hall will lead the work during 2024.
During the spring of 2024 the following will meet every two weeks to discuss the work: vice-dean, heads of departments, head of faculty office, departmental representatives, coordinator, communications officer, and student representatives. Additional participants will be invited if needed. Summaries of the meetings will be published on this website.
The focus for the period January – March 2024 is to produce a basis for the decision on co-location at Geocentrum. The aim is for the decision to be made in March 2024.
A detailed timetable for moving within and to Geocentrum cannot yet be presented as the planning work is done via LU Estates and Akademiska hus. However, the goal is that relocations will begin in the fall of 2024 and continue in early 2025.
In parallel with the work to produce a basis for a decision on co-location, work is beginning to produce a basis for a decision on co-organisation. The aim is for the decision to be made in September 2024.
Summary of meetings 2024
Participants include: vice-dean, heads of departments, head of faculty office, departmental representatives, coordinator, communications officer, and student representatives.
General information and discussion on three parallel processes:
- vision work
The aim is for a decision on co-location to be taken on 26 March 2024. The basis for the decision on co-location will be the results of the ongoing test scheduling of the programmes and placement tests. The ambition is to complete the test scheduling and placement work by 26 February 2024.
The test scheduling is carried out in collaboration between directors of studies, schedulers and the process manager/TimeEdit expert from the central administration at Lund University. The directors of studies will coordinate with the course directors/equivalent.
The placement tests are carried out in co-operation between the heads of department and process managers at the Faculty of Science. Safety representatives, administrative managers and the head of the library are invited to a meeting to discuss the placement process.
Risk and impact analyses are carried out with heads of department and safety representatives. The heads of department shall coordinate times for information meetings regarding the placement tests.
Support prior to a co-location
Discussion of the need for various types of enhanced support prior to co-location – including IT, labs and housing issues. It is important to have coordinated IT. Various aspects and solutions were therefore discussed. The discussion will be resumed at future meetings. House managers from other parts of the faculty will be invited to a meeting to exchange experiences.
As a kick-off for continued vision work, a joint workshop for all employees should be carried out –a suitable time is the latter part of March. Discussion regarding purpose and boundaries – research and education should be in focus. External support in connection with the planning and implementation of the workshop is needed and contacts should be made with the KIA consultant (the university's internal consultant support in change work). The role of departmental representatives in the vision work is important.
The aim is that a decision on co-organisation can be made in September 2024. Discussion of various aspects and sub-issues that need to be prepared for the decision.
With the aim of promoting dialogue and highlighting views and ideas from the operations regarding co-organisation issues, it is proposed that each head of department submit proposals for persons/groups to invite to the meetings during the spring semester.
Follow-up of studies
The report presented to the Faculty Board in December 2023 included the following investigations:
- Undergraduate education: "Merger of Bachelor and Master programmes between Geology, Environmental Science and Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science" (compiled by the Directors of Studies).
- Basic administration: "Collaboration between CEC, INES and Geology administration, challenges, opportunities, resources and initiation of co-operation" (compiled by the administrative managers).
- Laboratory activities: "Investigation of the conditions for co-location of laboratory activities at the departments CEC, INES and Geology" (compiled by research engineers in the laboratory activities).
Discussion followed regarding follow-up of the investigations.
The students submitted written comments (due to absence from the meeting at this point):
"We in LUNA share the picture that the GU report presents and do not think it says anything particularly controversial. When it comes to how to work with the GU, we think that as knowledgeable people as possible should be involved in the discussions and that a wide range of thoughts and opinions should be included. If the formation of a working group becomes relevant, we will advocate that a student from each department is included, preferably the representatives of the respective education boards."
Discussion on the future use of the Geolibrary's premises. The heads of department expressed a unanimous opinion that a prerequisite for successful co-location and co-organisation is that the space is released and made available for activities other than libraries.
The space offers good opportunities for lectures, teaching, group work, meetings, seminars, and workshops. Thanks to its strategic and easily accessible location with good openness towards Professorstorget and Sölvegatan, the room is suitable for outward-looking activities and can serve as a "display window" for the activities conducted in the building. In future visions, a possible joint department will have a lot of collaboration and be an important node for activities both within Lund University and towards societal actors.
The students criticised the removal of the subject libraries but understand the need to reduce the library space. The potential function of the library area as a "display window" is seen as positive. Librarians and study spaces are important to have close at hand, but not necessarily in the same location. If the books are relocated, it is possible that more study places can be offered.
Discussion and reconciliation of group/cluster placement proposals. The placement proposal should be revised based on today's reconciliation. The revised placement proposal will be agreed with the safety representative, heads of administration and the head of the library on 26 February. This session was attended by safety representatives, heads of administration and the head of the library.
Information: During January and February 2024, a test schedule has been carried out to examine the possibility of co-locating the teaching of CEC, INES and the Department of Geology, and the consequences this would have.
The test scheduling has been based on the teaching that is done today and was carried out with different scenarios for several rooms. The conclusion from the test scheduling is that it is possible to co-locate teaching. This will require a stricter procedure for scheduling than is currently the case. For example, more advance planning is needed and a stricter system of timeframes for the different stages of scheduling is required.
The directors of studies propose that a new system be introduced as early as the autumn term of 2024, to train new ways of working with scheduling and so that everyone in the process can get used to the new system.
Relocation and coordination of laboratories
The meeting participants agreed that there is a need for further laboratory investigation to examine how relocation of laboratories and improved laboratory coordination can be implemented and achieved.
The university's internal consultant support in change work, KIA consultant, will participate in the planning and implementation of a workshop for all employees. When the workshop is completed, the hope is that there will be a basis that can facilitate the work of developing a vision for the future department and a few proposals for names. The workshop is scheduled for mid-April. More information will be sent as soon as confirmations from organisers and venues have been received.
House manager/equivalent and IT support
Continued discussion on the need for different types of reinforced support before co-location – including IT and housing issues.
Meetings during the spring term
Karin Hall and Carina Jarl have been tasked with drawing up proposals for times to invite people/groups to the meetings during the spring term. The purpose is to promote dialogue and highlight views and ideas from the activities regarding co-organisation issues.
Save the date: Workshop on vision for all employees
All employees at CEC, INES and the Department of Geology are invited to participate in a joint workshop. The aim is to explore together the possibilities of a potential co-organisation, the conditions for a common vision and a new department name.
Please save the date, either 15 or 16 April from 13:00 to 16:00. You only need to attend one of the events.
A visionary preparatory work is important and forms the basis for a possible decision on a merger. The work is supported by KIA consultants, Lund University's internal consultancy support in change management.
An official invitation with a registration link will be sent out shortly.
The work so far
- The heads of CEC, INES and the Department of Geology have carried out a feasibility study on the conditions for a joint department.
- An external investigation has been carried out to examine whether the three departments could be coordinated in a joint department. Read the report further down the page.
- An internal investigation has been carried out at CEC on how the coordination of major research programmes and interdisciplinary collaboration platforms can be organised if the structure of the department changes. Read the report further down the page.
- The faculty management has met with representatives of the department management at the three departments concerned as well as the Department of Biology. The purpose of the meetings has been, among other things, to discuss the two investigations and the conditions for forming a joint department consisting of the activities at CEC, INES and the Department of Geology.
- The dean has decided to carry out a basic premises review to examine the possibilities of co-locating the three departments in the premises of Geocentrum I and Geocentrum II.
End of January 2023: Information about the process was given to the unions (MBL information).
1 February: The Faculty Board made a so-called orientation decision. Among other things, this means that the dean is instructed to initiate work to clarify how the three departments can be organised into a joint department.
April: The basic premises review was completed and the results were presented to the faculty management and representatives from the departments concerned on 14 April. The basic premises review shows that it is possible to co-locate CEC, INES and the Department of Geology in the premises of Geocentrum I and Geocentrum II.
9 May: The dean decided to adopt the project plan for the co-location and co-organisation of the three departments (STYR 2023/939) and to appoint a Steering Committee and a project group for this work (STYR 2023/979).
7 June: Information meeting for all employees. Karin Hall, deputy dean and project manager, provided in-depth information on the work on co-location and co-organisation in 2023. Hanieh Heidarabadi, process manager at the faculty office, presented the results from the basic premises review carried out by the architectural firm Jais Landén krantz arkitekter. The drawings are based on a preliminary premises programme to investigate the possibility of co-locating CEC, INES and the Department of Geology in Geocentrum I and Geocentrum II. The material also included thoughts and visions for an improved and activated outdoor environment. Please note that the sketches are not a finished proposal, but a basis for discussion for a future premises programme.
29 June: The Dean decided that the activities within Computational Biology and Biological Physics (CBBP), within the Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC), will move out of the current premises at Fysicum no later than 31 August 2023. This is a first step to create the conditions for further premises changes. The decision (in Swedish) has the registration number STYR 2023/1334.
31 August: Activities within Computational Biology and Biological Physics (CBBP), within the Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC), have moved from Fysicum to Geocentrum II.
26 October: Information meeting for all employees.
December 19: The Dean made a so-called orientation decision which means that the work on the coordination of a joint department continues according to the conclusions and proposals that project manager Karin Hall reported to the Faculty Board on 13 December 2023 and which the steering committee for the project supports. The orientation decision has the registration number STYR 2023/2855. The project manager's report to the board has the registration number STYR 2023/2647.
Summary of the Steering Committee meetings 2023
Dialogue with departmental representatives
The steering committee was given a brief overview of which departmental representatives the project group have had dialogue with so far. The purpose of these initial meetings is to capture opportunities and risks with the project at an early stage.
The steering committee and the project group participated in a campus tour on 24 August. They visited both the old renovated premises and the newly built Forum Medicum.
Some aspects that drew attention:
- The Faculty of Social Sciences' premises program continued to develop for 5–6 years after the move.
- Gamla Köket was interesting from the aspect of remodelling existing premises. Among other things, there was good light penetration through new large windows.
- Forum Medicum: Interesting to observe the densification of office spaces, the digital solution for booking rooms and labs, and the development of the faculty library for course literature.
- The M building at LTH: Interesting thoughts on ALC (Active Learning Classrooms) where computer rooms are currently located.
Recruitment of joint resources
Discussions were initiated regarding recruitment and future joint resources: How should it be handled and who makes decisions based on financial and organisational challenges?
Timetable for co-location
The timetable for co-location was discussed from an operational perspective. A detailed timetable cannot currently be established as there are many factors and aspects that affect a physical move. Once these factors and aspects have been analysed and action taken, a timetable can be established and communicated.
Previously completed co-locations
Previously completed co-locations were discussed. The health and safety representatives from CEC, INES and the Department of Geology will meet with the health and safety representatives who participated in the development of the premises program at Fysicum, which can provide good experience and a proposal for a model to start from.
Approved TimeEdit booking
The steering committee approved TimeEdit booking for all bookable meeting rooms at Geocentrum for those who have operational roles (i.e. authorisation to book) at the three departments.
Upcoming information meetings for staff
Proposal for two information meetings for staff at the three departments: 26 October 2023 and at the beginning of the spring semester 2024.
A separate invitation to the October meeting will be sent to staff shortly.
Information meeting and mingle for staff, 26 October
Time and place: 15:15–17:00 in the Aula at LUX (LUX:C116), Helgonavägen 3.
The registration deadline is 20 October.
Deputy for Per Persson – as representative from CEC and in case of impediment – is Katarina Hedlund.
Anders Scherstén replaces Per Persson as chairman of the steering committee when Per is unable to attend.
Asking for funds for lab resource
The project group's representatives have written a document regarding the need of a lab resource for autumn 2023. It describes that the design and function of the laboratories need to be changed to meet the needs within a new joint department at Geocentrum I and Geocentrum II. The steering committee recommended project manager Karin Hall to present the case at the next presidium.
Administrative managers can contribute to delivery goal
The steering committee recommended that the heads of departments/director, of the three departments concerned, assign the administrative managers to contribute to one of the delivery goals for the project: "to identify concrete issues before the project's continuation in 2024" (STYR2023/939). A written document, which summarises challenges and opportunities, must be submitted to the steering committee meeting on 20 November.
Timetable for the premises programme
A timetable was presented for the premises programme. During autumn, it will form the basis for MBL (Co-Determination Act) on two occasions, after approval from the faculty management.
Template for description of activities
LU Estate has a template that makes it easier to formulate a joint description of activities. The steering committee’s heads of departments and director are to fill in the template. The students are also given the opportunity to answer the questions.
Provided that co-location is possible, an organisation needs to be proposed to manage the continued work. This also applies to the proposed groups (subproject groups or focus groups) that need to manage the process further. Representatives need to be appointed and groups formalised. The steering committee will discuss when and how this should be done during upcoming meetings.
Information meeting on 26 October
At the information meeting for staff on 26 October, the heads of departments and representatives from the project group will present their work so far.
Summary of the workshop on 13 September
The purpose of the workshop, which took place on 13 September, was to discuss the complexity of the process and contribute to knowledge of each other's operations. The purpose was also to meet, get to know each other and create an open and constructive dialogue where all participants could discuss the challenges of the process, including questions about resources and refurbishment of premises.
During the workshop, four themes were discussed based on different issues:
- Challenges and opportunities
- Office premises
- Change process
A brief summary is available below. Feel free to contact the project group if you want to know more about the issues and discussions.
Challenges and opportunities
It was discussed that the major challenges are about managing differences in, among other things, work culture and financial models, to balance the need for expansion with the preservation of identity, and to ensure competence. Another challenge is the risk of rumours spreading due to a lack of clarity about the process, both in terms of relocation and reorganisation. Clarity is needed and management must stand by what has been decided.
Social areas and efficient use of space are important factors for successful coordination. Everyone agreed that there are also great opportunities and positive aspects with co-location and co-organisation. There are opportunities for new collaborations and even better quality in both education and research. It is positive to broaden one's horizons.
Effective communication and understanding the needs of the organisation is the key to success in this process.
Subject identity and organisational changes were discussed, with a focus on how this can affect the researchers' identity and the department's sense of belonging. The importance of maintaining a subject identity and focusing on the needs of younger generations was also discussed. Flexibility and the possibility to move between activities are emphasized.
The name of the new department engaged the participants. There was consensus that the name should be inspirational and not too long. Could one possibly announce some kind of competition or invite employees to come with suggestions? The name must also work in both Swedish and English. However, it is important that the name change does not take the focus away from the department's mission.
Regarding the identity, one of the most important aspects is that the employees feel at home in the organisation, even if the name becomes overarching. The names of the divisions may reflect subject affiliation/identity.
In this part of the workshop, the vision of the premises programme was presented, where the goals include better adapted premises, more efficient use of premises and the ability to create long-term solutions.
There is no easy way to create a dynamic organisation, but for collaboration and synergies it was discussed how to avoid creating silos in the organisation. There was a strong consensus on the need for social spaces. It was agreed that everyone must be able to follow the same rules and guidelines to create the best possible working environment. The need for offices should govern – not employment category.
It is important to address the concern that the sketch that already exists today will suddenly become the final proposal. And that there needs to be clarity about why you need to move, it must be clear that there is a need.
The positive aspect of changing the groupings to promote new collaborations and networking was highlighted by many. Suggestions were also made to have a step-by-step plan, to grow into the co-location and get a feel for what you want and need, which is difficult to know before moving in.
It was decided that each department should make a draft placement based on their staff lists. The deadline for this is 1 October. Submitted proposals should be based on job category and principles (needs to be defined), and function and needs (needs need to be defined).
The last part of the workshop dealt with change. It was mentioned that the internal communication needs to be improved. Several participants emphasised that the current situation will not always be the same, so it is not an option to just continue as usual. A change requires necessary and long-term planning.
Operations are affected by the lack of clarity resulting from the fact that neither co-location nor co-organisation has been decided. In order not to create too much anxiety, regular information was desired. There is also a desire to regain enthusiasm, which some say seems to be waning in parts of the organisation. This requires support for heads of departments and line managers. It is important to have a good dialogue between the faculty and the departments. Several raised requests for social activities, such as breakfast meetings. We can also learn from other universities that have carried out successful mergers.
Recommendation to the directors of studies
The steering committee recommended that the heads of departments give the directors of studies, for first and second cycle education at CEC, INES and the Department of Geology, the task of contributing to one of the delivery goal for the autumn project: "to identify concrete issues before the project's continuation in 2024" (STYR2023/939). By 17 November, the steering committee should have received a written document that briefly summarises the initial discussions held by the directors of studies. The long-term work, which describes the group’s conclusions, will be presented at a later stage.
Project organisation during 2024
A prerequisite for a joint department is co-location, which this autumn's work is expected to provide an answer to. The steering committee discussed various options for how the project organisation for 2024 can be designed, so that the work towards a joint department can begin immediately after the turn of the year. The discussion will continue in future meetings.
Possible timing for co-location
There is a need for a clear vision of when the co-location can be realised. With minimal remodeling, the premises could be ready for co-location after the summer of 2024. Meetings with the property owner, Akademiska Hus, have been initiated and there is an ongoing investigation into the need for remodeling. A ventilation investigation is also underway, which is expected to be completed in December. The need for temporary offices during the remodelling will be addressed shortly.
Information meeting on 26 October
Heads of departments and representatives from the project group will present the work so far.
Placement proposal in Geocentrum
Based on the personnel lists presented by the departments, guidelines have been drawn up for placement in Geocentrum I and Geocentrum II. Faculty-wide work is underway at the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Engineering (LTH) to develop common guidelines and a policy for how offices should be allocated. This work is expected to be completed during the autumn and will affect the allocation of office space for the whole faculty in the future.
Proposal for project organisation 2024
A proposal for the new project organisation in 2024 was discussed.
Cleaning and clearing of storerooms
Discussion regarding cleaning and clearing of storage rooms. The heads of the Department of Geology and INES will return with a proposal on how cleaning and clearing should be done. The proposal will be presented at the steering group meeting on 20 November and will include names of people with knowledge of what must be saved and what can be thrown away, criteria for cleaning and a proposed date for completion in spring 2024.
Joint scheduling in TimeEdit needs to be done in 2024. Prior to the work, skills development may be needed for schedulers. In the spring term of 2025, CEC's students may have all lectures and seminars at Geocentrum. An assignment of joint scheduling will be given by the heads of departments in 2024.
Principles for the allocation of offices
Principles for the allocation of offices were presented. These have been drawn up following work on staff lists and are based on job categories and needs. There was discussion about kitchens, social areas and other areas needed.
Work on the placement proposal will begin with the health and safety representatives on 26 October. Once the proposal has been approved by the steering committee, a risk and impact analysis will be initiated on the work environment aspects of the placement. The analysis will be completed by 1 December.
Further work on the placement proposal
Discussion of the placement proposal that has been developed. The proposal is based on the needs and staff lists of the three departments. Risk and impact analyses will be carried out separately for CEC, INES and the Department of Geology.
A revised placement proposal will be made. This will also be based on the faculty's new guidelines for the allocation of office spaces. The guidelines are currently being developed together with LTH and a decision is expected before the end of the year. These guidelines will affect how office space is allocated within the entire faculty.
The work on placement will continue during spring 2024, when functions and names will be placed. At present, an assessment is only made based on how many desks and offices are needed. The purpose of the placement work is to be able to make a decision on co-location. The results of the test schedule are also important for this decision.
Lessons learnt from other universities
Presentation and discussion of other universities' experiences with co-organisation and co-location. This can give the faculty guidance in the process.
Discussion about the test schedule and the need to deepen the joint scheduling work of CEC, INES and the Department of Geology. This needs to be done in spring 2024.
Discussion of financial aspects of the co-location and that it needs to be clarified what the faculty and the departments respectively should pay for when it comes to the co-location work.
Plan for cleaning and clearing premises
INES presented a plan for cleaning and clearing the department's premises to enable renovation and remodelling in preparation for co-location in Geocentrum II.
The plan also includes:
- Taking care of material to be preserved and archived
- Determine which material can continue to be used in teaching and research
- Disposing of material that can no longer be handled or has any value
The plan states that there will be a need for both archival support and a hired expert who knows how to handle material for preservation.
The Department of Geology will present a similar plan for cleaning and clearing its premises.
Risk and impact analyses
Risk and impact analyses have been carried out for CEC and for the Department of Geology together with the safety representatives. Next up is INES and then a joint analysis for the faculty will be carried out together with the chief health and safety representative.
The steering committee emphasised the importance of following up on this work and making a plan to implement the measures proposed in the analysis.
Reporting to the Faculty Board
Discussion about the draft of the report to be presented to the Faculty Board on 13 December. The steering committee considers it necessary to clarify in the report that the results indicate that co-location is possible.
The report to the Faculty Board includes presenting identified concrete questions for the continuation of the project in 2024. The students emphasised the importance of continued work to ensure a good study environment in the Geocentre. It is also important to come up with a name for the new department when a decision on co-organisation is made.
At the Faculty Board meeting on 13 December, the project will present and report on this year's work. A so-called orientation decision for further work is planned for 19 December. This will be discussed at a union briefing scheduled on 12 December. According to the orientation decision, the work will continue according to the conclusions and proposals reported by the project manager to the Faculty Board. The goal is to decide on co-location as soon as possible in 2024.
Work on allocating workplaces for functions and names will begin on 14 December and will be carried out by heads of department/directors. The work will continue during the first quarter of 2024 to clarify how the premises programme needs to be developed.
A discussion with representatives of the two national strategic research areas coordinated by CEC is planned. The purpose of the meeting is to engage in dialogue and obtain input for the process of a new departmental organisation.
The discussions continued on how the work should be carried out regarding the joint organisation next year for the development of the educational environment, announcement of positions, vision, name, profile and also how financial stimulation/investment can have a positive impact on the joint organisation. Questions need to be answered, such as: How can a new department create better conditions for the challenges of the future? The name and the joint visionary work are important and need to be initiated.
Future work will not take place through a specific project organisation. The coordination work will be led by Vice Dean Karin Hall throughout 2024. Reconciliation and discussions are planned with heads of department/directors, with the proposal to have regular meetings every two weeks. As meetings with representatives and heads of department have been successful for acceptance and anchoring in 2023, it is planned to continue to summarise the meeting notes in the same way as in the autumn.
A proposal on principles for sharing costs between departments and the faculty was discussed. These can range from resources to specific tasks that need to be done, such as cleaning and preserving research material, designing test schedules and other similar costs directly related to co-location. As it needs to be implemented quickly, it is proposed that such costs be charged to the faculty. The faculty office now needs to review the possibility of financing based on the proposal.
A highly prioritised task is to create a realistic test schedule, which needs to be completed in March, and planning for this work is currently underway.
Reflections of the faculty management
The faculty management sees great potential in a joint department, which can become very strong and influential in the subject area – both nationally and internationally.
We have reviewed the two investigations that have been carried out (read the reports further down the page) on the possibilities of coordinating CEC, INES and the Department of Geology in a joint department. We agree that there is great potential in a joint department in terms of research, infrastructure and administration. We believe that such a department could be very strong in the subject area, and influential both nationally and internationally. We can also see that teaching can be strengthened through the increased collaboration that a joint department can bring.
In the event of a merger, CEC's activities related to the coordination of major research programmes and collaboration platforms should continue to be carried out in the form of a centre, with its organisational placement within the new department. This would give the centre greater visibility and closer contact with groups within INES in particular, which we very much welcome.
An additional asset that could strengthen a joint department is the unit Computational Biology and Biological Physics, which is part of CEC as of 1 January 2023. The unit was previously part of the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics.
We have met with the heads of the three departments concerned as well as the Department of Biology to discuss the two investigations and the conditions for forming a joint department. The meetings showed that there are common points of interest which can strengthen the development opportunities in the subject area.
We would like to underline how important all staff at the respective departments are in this process and we look forward to moving forward together.
Reports from the investigations
In 2022, two investigations were carried out. One was carried out by an external group that analysed the possibilities of coordinating the three departments in a joint department. The second investigation was carried out internally at CEC and deals with how coordination of major research programmes and interdisciplinary collaboration platforms can be organised if the structure of the department changes.
Investigation of how research in the Department of Geology, the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science and the Centre for Environmental and Climate Science can be coordinated and organised within a single department
The review team believes that there is great potential in merging the Department of Geology, INES and CEC into one department in terms of research, infrastructure, teaching and administration, without compromising the networking interdisciplinary approach. The prerequisite for a successful merger is that there is a clear vision and objective on the part of the faculty, which should be communicated to the staff concerned.
There are both opportunities and risks in a merger and therefore we propose that the faculty decides to start a preparatory work with the aim of forming a joint department. In order to lead this work, it is of utmost importance to identify suitable persons trusted by the staff. It is also important that the employees concerned are involved in the merger process, including through a number of working groups to address key issues before a final decision is taken. Issues to be discussed include, for example, subject profiling, the name of the new department, the focus of the research groupings, the organisation of the infrastructure, review of the graduate subjects, development of the undergraduate education, location aspects, etcetera. A group should also review the potential transfer of researchers to a new department from other departments, in particular the Department of Biology. The work of these groups must take its time, but not be too lengthy, suggesting a maximum of one year.
As a starting point for these discussions, we envisage a common department with the following structure. All activities will be co-located and the former departmental division will be broken up and replaced by new research groupings where every researcher will have the opportunity to feel a sense of belonging. The research groupings should operate in a collegial spirit, but should not have financial autonomy or decide on recruitment. The network activities belong to the department, but have their own budget for their activities. In order to maintain its strong interdisciplinary identity, we propose that it retains the name Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC). It should also be located close to researchers working interdisciplinarily to strengthen the link between research and networking. Otherwise, the department is organised according to the rules of procedure of the faculty, i.e. led by a head of department and a relevantly staffed board, etcetera.
An absolutely crucial issue for the successful consolidation of a new department is a head of department and a board that has the confidence of the staff, is responsive but at the same time clear in its decisions. The faculty should ensure that suitable people are available to fill these positions. In order to further demonstrate transparent leadership, it is important to form a consultative body with representatives of the various research groups and networks. This preparatory body, the Strategic Research Council, should focus on profiling strategies, including the targeting of new research hires.
Base administration should be co-located to optimise skills and strengthen redundancy. Research coordinators and research information officers should be co-located and close to the relevant research activities. In order to share experience and knowledge, the technical staff should be organised in a working group, but localisation may be organised according to needs. For example, a joint department will be responsible for high quality research infrastructures and the technicians should be located according to their responsibilities.
An organisational change of the dimension we are discussing here means anxiety for the staff and significant additional work during the transition period. In order to facilitate this work and ensure a smooth implementation, resources need to be made available, both to compensate for lost working time, but also to strengthen the operations with strategic new recruitments.
The full report
The report (in Swedish) was sent to all employees at the three departments concerned in the middle of November 2022.
Investigation of how the CEC’s activities related to the coordination of major research programmes and multidisciplinary collaboration platforms can be organised if the departmental structure changes
The investigation has studied how the activities of the Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC) related to the coordination of major research programmes and interdisciplinary collaboration platforms should be organised if the research and education in the environmental and climate field currently conducted within CEC is coordinated and organised within a single department that also includes the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science (INES) and the Department of Geology. The investigation has focused on the possibilities of initiating, facilitating and conducting inter- and transdisciplinary research, collaboration and communication in the field of environment and climate. In line with the boundaries set for the investigation, implications for education have not been assessed. The study includes implications for matrix organisations coordinated from CEC: the ClimBioSiS profile area (Sustainable solutions in the climate change – biodiversity – social nexus), the strategic research areas BECC (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Climate) and MERGE (ModElling the Regional and Global Earth system), the LU Land collaborative initiative, the Sustainability Forum, the graduate schools ClimBEco (Climate, Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a changing world) and Agenda 2030, and the Marine Centre.
The investigation has been based on a combination of studies of documentation, meetings with staff and partners, and comparative observations of similar organisations nationally and internationally.
CEC is today the environmental science department of the faculty, which also coordinates a number of matrix activities. The core of the activities is a mandate from the faculty to be a research actor, coordinator, meeting place, node for competence supply, and a knowledge bank and arena for collaboration in the environmental and climate field. The activities are thus based on working with matrix organisations from an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary core, where the core activities funded by the faculty and the matrix activities funded in a special order have developed synergistically.
Core activities have provided opportunities for initiatives and continuity, while matrix activities have widened networks and brought in resources. However, this has not been without difficulties, partly due to the organisational complexity created by the form of organisation.
The study examined how two alternative organisational forms, the centre and the network organisation, would relate to a number of critical success criteria. We have defined the difference between a centre and a network organisation as follows: a centre has a clear mission to initiate, facilitate and conduct inter- and transdisciplinary activities, to which academic staff are attached to lead and conduct research and collaboration. It also has an overall administration that coordinates and supports matrix activities. A network organisation does not carry out research and has at its core a professional organisation to support the activities of the constituent matrix organisations.
The criteria against which the organisational forms were assessed were: legitimacy, leadership, incentives, administrative competence and attractiveness. The study considered that a future organisation would need to be relatively independent and have its own visibility in order to create legitimacy. This is achieved by being led by a board of directors representing different parts of the stakeholders of the activity, and by having access to allocated funds. The organisational location of the activity is considered to be of less importance. Whatever the organisational form, the activities should be physically co-located to provide an interdisciplinary environment for meetings between researchers and to constitute a sustainable workplace with redundancy in the administration of inter- and transdisciplinary activities, including the matrix activities.
The assessment of the inquiry is that it requires an organisation with long-term financial as well as organisational muscle – which allows a high ambition to dynamically develop strategic research and collaborative initiatives, including coordinating existing and initiating new matrix activities – to support excellent research with measurable impact on society, in line with international and national research policy direction from the EU and Swedish government, ministries and state funders. A strong organisation and resource base will allow for long-term business development that is attractive enough to engage senior researchers from both the Faculty of Science and the rest of the University, and will allow for the recruitment of researchers to develop interdisciplinary research and collaboration. According to the study, this strongly suggests a centre with the possibility of attracting long-term researchers/teachers to develop both research and collaboration together with collaborating departments.
The ability to associate part-time teachers/researchers in varying degrees depending on the assignment is crucial.
The conditions for the centre's activities will be strongly influenced by whether or not the educational programme in environmental science is linked to it.
The study has not investigated possible consequences for education of different ways of organising the activities. If environmental science education is not located at the Centre, the Centre needs to have sufficient other mechanisms that create incentives for researchers/teachers from different disciplines to participate in the activities. This could include funds temporary association of researchers, PhD/post-doctoral programmes, opportunities to develop interdisciplinary research projects, support in terms of collaboration and communication, etcetera.
The investigation also sees the possibility of creating a network organisation, which should then have a broad mission to facilitate interdisciplinary research, collaboration and communication. The core of such an activity will be existing matrix organisations at the intersections of climate, ecosystems, and society. The investigation sees a risk that a network organisation will reduce the incentive and ability to retain existing and develop new interdisciplinary initiatives that are not associated with this area. A network organisation also cannot serve as a legitimate platform to host faculty and department-wide research projects. Finally, the study identifies a risk that the supporting activities no longer have the same contact with interdisciplinary research, which may make the workplace less attractive for administrators with special skills to support interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary activities.
The conclusion of the study is that the faculty has the opportunity primarily to create a powerful centre for inter- and transdisciplinary research, collaboration and communication in the field of environment and climate. A clear scientific identity can be created from a natural science perspective on the subject of environmental research, where the earth’s resources and capacity to assimilate human impact sets limits to existence, and which links to other sciences to address the global goals of Agenda 2030 and the Swedish environmental quality goals. In this way, researchers from the different departments of the faculty, as well as researchers from other faculties, can be engaged in the activities with appropriate association mechanisms. Such a centre will thus be an instrument to live up to the Lund University Sustainable Development Strategy 2019–2026 and its emphasis on cross-disciplinary collaboration to contribute to sustainable development.
The full report
Contact information for Carina Jarl (staff.lu.se)
Vice-Dean with responsibility for the coordination of a joint department.
Contact information for Karin Hall (staff.lu.se)
Departmental representative, INES
Contact information for Martin Berggren (staff.lu.se)
Departmental representative, Department of Geology
Contact information for Raimund Muscheler (staff.lu.se)
Departmental representative, CEC
Contact information for Yann Clough (staff.lu.se)