Even before Anders Hagfeldt took over as Vice-Chancellor, he maintained in interviews that a broad university like Uppsala has major potential to create intriguing transdisciplinarity, not least in the area of sustainability. He has not changed his view on this point; in fact quite the contrary. He can see that there is a fantastic basis for new programmes, new research initiatives and new modes of collaboration.

“Many activities are already under way, but we can hone our efforts further. We are now making a major and serious effort to identify specific and intriguing initiatives that can match the need we have for knowledge that can help us manage global social challenges,” he explains.

All welcome to contribute

Project manager Joëlle Rüegg, Professor of Environmental Toxicology at the Department of Organismal Biology, is looking forward to an intense autumn together with her project team. There will be lots of meetings and, she hopes, lots of ideas and strong commitment too. She knows that this is possible, and wants to make contact with anyone looking to make a contribution.

“It is important that we base our efforts on who we are and what we know about – together we can create something bigger than the diverse parts. I truly believe in this intiative and will make sure I get as comprehensive a picture as possible of relevant research and education that is under way out there across the University,” adds Rüegg.

“There is enormous breadth; there is not just one stand-out area, but many. What can we make of it? It would be exciting to find brand-new ideas with potential and to challenge things a little, so I welcome anyone with some thoughts to contact me.”

The project has only just been launched. She has attended an away day for heads of department and is planning workshops for the autumn. She hopes to create waves throughout the University by having lots of meetings.

There is a momentum

Vice-Rector of the Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tora Holmberg, is chair of the steering group. She can sense a momentum among all those involved.

“We have a really great and committed steering group and an enthusiastic project group. By the end of the year we will present proposals about the content and organisational format moving forward,” she adds.