Marianne Sommarin appointed coordinator for the work with profile areas

14 September 2021

The Vice-Chancellor has reached the decision to appoint Senior Professor Marianne Sommarin as coordinator for Umeå University's work with profile areas. The assignment starts in September and involves preparations for the government's future distribution model for higher education institutions' research grants.

The Swedish Government has announced that it intends to introduce a new model for the distribution of grants for research and doctoral education. The proposed model is based on the higher education institutions' own identification of profile areas. Although many details are still to be determined, the university management believes that work to identify profile areas should be initiated both as preparation for a new distribution model and as part of the strategic work to further develop the university according to the established vision.

Against this background, the Vice-Chancellor made the decision on 7 September to appoint Senior Professor Marianne Sommarin as coordinator for the university's work with profile areas. The assignment applies to the period 15 September 2021 to 31 December 2021 with regular reporting to the university management.

Katrine Riklund, Pro-Vice-Chancellor

Photo: Mattias Pettersson

"Identification of strong and potential profile areas is of strategic importance to the University and I am pleased that Marianne Sommarin has taken on this assignment, says Katrine Riklund, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Umeå University. "Marianne is highly qualified and knows Umeå University well, such as in her previous role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for research and with a broad national experience in the field."

Marianne Sommarin's assignment involves - in consultation with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research - identifying research areas that may be classified as profile areas. The Strategic Council for Research and Doctoral Education (FOSTRA) will appoint a working group under the leadership of Marianne Sommarin to assist in the work.

Marianne Sommarin, Senior Professor

Photo: Mattias Pettersson

"It's an exciting assignment and I look forward to identifying profile areas at the university," says Marianne Sommarin, Senior Professor and new coordinator.

Proposals for profile areas shall be based on bibliometric analysis and other suitable data sources, and will be developed in close dialogue with the faculties. The criteria are very high scientific quality and very high quality in collaboration. Furthermore, the working group will identify potential profile areas under construction, which are important for Umeå University's future development and profile, with the potential to achieve the described criteria, but where there is not yet an comprehensive operational activity.

The working group must submit proposals for the method and time frame to the Vice-Chancellor no later than 30 October 2021.

For question and inquiries, contact:

Katrine Riklund, Pro-Vice-Chancellor
Marianne Sommarin, Senior Professor

Background to the profile areas proposal

In the 2020 Research and Innovation Bill, the Swedish Government announced a new model for resource allocation of part of the allocation for research and third-cycle programmes (doctoral level studies), which is based on so-called profile areas that the higher education institutions themselves define.

The research funding authorities were commissioned by the Government to develop the model, and presented a proposal in June 2021. According to the proposal, a higher education institution should be able to apply for up to five profile areas in a first round, depending on the university's size. The proposal also describes criteria and forms for assessing experts and the distribution of resources.

Through the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions, the institutions have identified a number of shortcomings and gaps in the proposal. The Government has not yet commented on the proposal or received comments. More details can be found in the budget bill.

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