Innsbruck University

Innsbruck by night

By: Stefan Zimmermann, KIB KI UnIversity Library

Ulf Sirborn and Joakim Jedholt from Ki and David from Innsbruck university.

We were three colleagues from KIB that traveled to Innsbruck to meet with our colleagues from Austria. The first day we meet with a team from the PR department. We started with traditional Austrian breakfast. During the day we meet different employees and discussed how both the differences and similarity of our two universities. In many ways they have the same challenges that we have here at KI.

The old library building
Ski jump arena seen from the city center. Innsbruck had the winter olympics 1968 and 1976

The Medical University of Innsbruck was one of the first four faculties (Philosophy 1669, Faculty of Law 1670, Faculty of Theology 1670 and Faculty of Medicine 1674) of the University of Innsbruck. It has been an important flagship for the university throughout its 340-year history. But since 2004 (Within the framework of the University Act of 2002) it been a separate from the university of Innsbruck.

Today the Medical university has around 3000 students and 2000 employees and is It is the most important medical research and training facility in western Austria. The university focus on three major areas Research, Teaching and patient care. Achievement in the medical science has always been important in Innsbruck and the university has produced three Nobel prize laureates in the medical field.

The medical university of Innsbruck is a young university with a very long tradition and heritage. The start of the university goes back as far as 1562 when the Jesuits established a grammar school in Innsbruck.  The University itself was inaugurated by Emperor Leopold I on 15 October 1669 (thus the name ‘Leopold-Franzens University’).

During the week we had a lot of inspiring meeting and interactions, both with there staff and students. For example we had a chance to meet with there curator an listen to there work with preserve and research historical medical information. Recently the university has published a book about a senior faculty member witch worked to save Jewish children during the Nazi occupation.

We also had the opportunity to see how the work in close collaboration with the hospital in Innsbruck. And how they train and prepare the students for real life situations. They are well trained in different special areas. They are using skill labs to train both with and without teachers.

InterWeek, University of Porto Staff Exchange, November 2019

InterWeek, University of Porto Staff Exchange, November 2019

By: Talia Adamsson, International Student Coordinator, SPUN Education Support Office

University of Porto
University of Porto

The University of Porto is known for hosting an average of 4 staff weeks each year and I participated in the staff week in November with the theme open to administrative staff within International Cooperation.  We were 25 participants representing 25 universities and 12 countries, our furthest colleague came all the way from Peru!

We were welcomed warmly by the University of Porto on the Monday during registration and continued getting to know one each other as we were put in groups for the ice breaking session, a pop quiz about Portugal.

Ice Breaking Quiz
Dom Luís I Bridge 

After the ice breaking quiz we had an “international” coffee break where everyone brought something that was typical of their home country and you explained what it was and when you would eat it.  I very much enjoyed this activity as it opened up discussion and it got everyone talking about their home country and university and what their position was. 

We had a presentation from the Head of the International Office who explained to us how much the University of Porto has grown over the years as well as their involvement in different EU projects annually.  It was interesting to learn how they have built up their reputation and ranking within Portugal within internationalization coming from a small beginning.  Learning about their obstacles and all their achievements was very inspiring to listen to.  The day ended with an organized city tour as well as a tour of a winery specializing in port wine.

São Bento Railway Station
Port wine tasting

The following day started with a two-hour crash course in Portuguese, which was very fun and gave us the basics for our stay in Porto.  Our teacher was really enthusiastic, and I think the entire group had a really good time!  Following the coffee break we had open discussions where everyone was able to share problems/questions and thoughts with the group and everyone gave their input. I found this session to be very useful as we were able to learn a lot from each other. 

The topics ranged from, What happens if you have a student who dies, what are the protocols that you put in place? to How do you promote and increase the awareness of studying abroad as well as highlight the importance of it?  This was a challenge that most of the universities faced, having an imbalance of incoming versus outgoing students.  One question was, How do you prepare you students for going abroad?  With this question, I was able to share how we prepare a Kick Off for all of our students that includes culture awareness/attitude as well as they must complete the mandatory PREPARE course online.

Wednesday we on started the morning with the topic: “Mobility, Welcoming and Monitoring: Focusing on Quality” and how the University of Porto addresses this.  Everyone was also able to present and discuss the different practices they used at their home institution.  It is always inspiring to hear how other universities work with incoming exchange students and all of the work they do behind it.  I was surprised to learn that the University of Porto (International Office) organizes 1-2 activities each week for all incoming students and it is the International Coordinators who are behind all the work as well as recruiting student help.  It is a great way to get students integrated into both the university and Portugal.

The afternoon session as followed by a case study analysis.  The case study were the terror attacks in Paris and how and what is expected of the university, what is step one when something like this happens.  We talked about contacting our partners and students as well as how much responsibility lies on the university, where to draw the line since students are adults.  I found this session very insightful and it was interesting to hear within our small group how everyone had handled the situation when the attacks happened.

Open Discussions
Case Study Analysis

After the day was over, a few of us when out and explored the beautiful city of Porto!

Praça da Ribeira
View of Porto from Douro
Walking to the river and Praça da Ribeira

Thursday morning we began our morning session with the Director of International Relations talking about an Erasmus Higher Education Impact Study that she was directly involved in.  It was both insightful and interesting to learn the outcomes of the study.  She presented many facts and figures regarding the impact and value that Erasmus has had both on staff and students.  The second half of her presentation focused on Erasmus without Papers and she also is part of a reference group advocating the importance to implement Erasmus without Papers in Europe.  This presentation was interesting, and I enjoyed listening to all the benefits and challenges that will take place when it does happen as I also feel strongly that we should become paperless to minimize paper and the work behind it.

That evening we had our Intercultural Dinner and were surprised mid dinner by a fado performance with three musicians.  It was a nice to be able to experience something that is traditional of Portugal and they did an amazing job!

Group Dinner
Fado Performance

The last day the half of the group that did not have time to present themselves or their universities had the opportunity to do so.  The morning session was one of the most interesting to me as a guy working in IT came to present “Let’s go Digital”.  The University of Porto has one intern and one full time IT person working only for the International Office, which was surprising that one office can have such a big resource.  They had IT build a system based on their needs and he as well as the intern are constantly updating and developing a better system due to needs changing or due to growing number of incoming students they keep receiving.  I found this particularly interesting as we also will soon be getting a new system helping us with student mobility, so it was inspiring to hear everything that they have built and achieved in their custom-built system.

This session concluded our wonderful week in Porto and I really appreciate all the time and effort that the International Office at the University of Porto spent in putting together an inspiring week!

Presentation from IT Office

It is time to get started building…

By: Emma Hägg, International Coordinator, International Relations Office

In May this year we, Karen Gustafsson and Emma Hägg went to Porto in Portugal together with colleagues from the administration to listen to a presentation of the SUCTI-project. In October we followed up with training in Tarragona.

Porto in May

The presentation in Porto gave us a sneak peak of tools for a course targeting administrative staff. When we went to Porto we already had a vague idea of how this course could be part of the ongoing STINT-funded Internationalisation of the Curriculum (IoC) project in which the importance of engaging administrative staff has been gradually apparent. You can read more about the event in Porto in the blog “Let’s build human towers…”.

Tarragona in October

Now it is time for the sequel…when dates were announced for the first course to train SUCTI-trainers. We, Emma and Karen signed up. The train the trainers would equip us and train us for giving the course to our colleagues. We would be able to work on our presentation skills, test the tools, get the knowledge and discuss internationalisation with colleagues from other parts of the world.

Off we went 20 October to Tarragona and to the Universitat Roviera I Virgili (URV) for a 5-day intense course. URV had been coordinating the project and hence was the host for this pilot, which was the first “train the trainers” course to be carried out outside the consortium after finalizing the project in June.

Turning particpants into champions

Participants came from Spain, France, the Phillipines and us from Sweden and most universities had sent two or three staff to the training. The course was intense and skipped back and forth between interactive activities and theoretical blocks. The diversity in the group gave fantastic added value as we all came from different backgrounds and with different challenges. In the final session where we all gave presentations one of the participants had the each person in the group say a song that would represent how they felt…we all ended up singing karaoke “We are the champions”….need I say more.

Now it is time to get started building that “human tower”…and to integrate interationalisation into the university…starting with a group of our administrative staff in November…wish us “buena suerte”!

Let’s build human towers!

By: Emma Hägg, International Coordinator, International Relations Office

“All together for internationalisation”. Teamwork is not easy…but it is most often rewarding and the outcome greater than the expectations…

The ongoing STINT-funded IoC-project (Internationalisation of the Curriculum) at Karolinska Institutet has identified the support services as important stakeholders and change agents in the process of integrating internationalisation into the university as a whole. In KIs newly adopted Strategy 2030 one of three strategic directions is “the global university”.

But how to get admin on board and how to get them to meet, communicate, collaborate and feel that they are an integral part of a global university?

Sharing best practice

With this thought in mind five administrative staff with various responsibilities from two different offices; landed in foggy Porto to pick up best practices from the Systemic University Change Towards Internationalisation (SUCTI)-project focusing on how to engage and empower admin staff in internationalisation. Five universities have been working since 2016 in a strategic partnership project supported and cofounded by EAIE and Erasmus+.

The background, context and surveys before and after the SUCTI-project were presented to show the actual impact this training has had on the participants. And indeed, they presented successful results.

SUCTI trainers presented elements from the training in different sessions:

  • Icebreakers for participants in trainings
  • Understanding your university’s position in the world (Rankings)
  • How international (inclusive and communicative) is your university online
  • Identifying with an international student
  • If you were Rector for a day?
  • The importance of teamwork

What we as participants learned during the day was just a sneak peak but really got us thinking about the next steps to take. The final SUCTI conference is 27 June in Tarragona and all material, reports and tools will be made available as the project closes.

The Education Support Office would like to pilot a training in internationalisation with study counsellors with the tools from the project. The pilot, planned for autumn 2019,  might very well be the start of something bigger. Remember the SUCTI-project statement…”all together for internationalisation”.

The joy of teamwork

The SUCTI-trainers all expressed that the best outcomes of the project were learning more about their own university, their colleagues and what they do, the importance of communication and professional development. It was also challenging at times as teamwork most often is!

The parallel to the Tarragona phenomena of the castells (the human towers) makes sense. The success of a castell depends on the contribution of each and every casteller (person in the castell). Likewise, the contributions of each and every member of a university are essential to its internationalisation process. It might sometimes also be hard and frustrating, but the reward is what Fiona Hunter, one of the key people in the project, named “institutional happiness” the joy in sharing effort and success.

With the inspiration from Porto, let’s start building some human towers!

Charlotta Cederberg SPUN, Isabel Johnson SPUN, Karen Gustafsson SPUN/IoC, Emma Hägg IK/SIR and Maria Olsson IK/SER


By: Stefan Zimmerman, KIB KI University Library

We made a visit to The National and University Library of Iceland. Guðrún Halldóra Sveinsdóttir was one of our hosts during the visit, a very charming lady with several main tasks in the library such as HR administrator and also responsible for the overall budget and economics.

Guðrún Halldóra Sveinsdóttir

Some facts about the library:

It is the largest library in Iceland with one million items in various collections. It contains almost all published written Icelandic works and manuscript.

They have also a collection of published Icelandic music and other audio

They have to ensure that copy of all published Icelandic material is registered, classified and preserved

There is an agreement with University of Iceland to provide all theoretical material, electronic subscription and they also have education and other services for students and employees of the university.

The organization at the library is divided in four main departments:

  1. Acquisitions and metadata
  2. National collections and digital conversion (containing for example digitalization and photography, conservation and bookbinding
  3. Information and services
  4. Administration and IT

We found it very interesting that we can recognize a lot of this in our own library in KI (KIB)

The library is not a public library but one interesting option they have is that the IT-system is connected and searchable within all university and other library publications. So it´s really easy for visitors to find publications they´re searching for, even other kind of literature than the scientific.

All the main departments have 22 employees each and they also have a property management staff of 4 people.

The total space the library has is as follows:

Thodarbokhlada. 13000kvm  is in 4 floors+basement and have 500 seats for guests

Reykholt, reserve collection 800kvm

Additional storage: 450kvm

IT-department has:

1 employee to take care of 85 staff computers and 100 guest computers

IT-development has a staff of 3

They also provide 25 websites with a total of 1.300.000 visitors / year

Websites include: magazines, maps, books, manuscripts, student final projects, born digital legal deposit.

Open access, free of charge

We got an demonstration of how easy it is to search for a specific thesis, it is a very easy interface to use and quick to find what we searched for.

The library also aim to get equal pay certification spring 2019.

Some statistics: 79 doing 71 jobs, the average employee is 50 years old, 60% women 40% the rest

Sickness absence 4,5%

Inhouse training each year 30% of employee attend work-related seminars, other seminars or conferences

Our host at the University,
Jón Örn Guðbjartsson

Jón Örn Guðbjartsson

The University of Iceland (Icelandic: Háskóli Íslands) is a public research university in Reykjavík, Iceland and the country’s oldest and largest institution of higher education. Founded in 1911, it has grown steadily from a small civil servants’ school to a modern comprehensive university, providing instruction for about 14,000 students in twenty-five faculties. Teaching and research is conducted in social sciences, humanities, law, medicine, natural sciences, engineering and teacher education. It has a campus concentrated around Suðurgata street in central Reykjavík, with additional facilities located in nearby areas as well as in the countryside.

University of Iceland, Nordic house, and National and University Library of Iceland.

Reykjavik city

Golden circle

Strokkur, hot water spring on Iceland.

Strokkur hot water spring in Iceland.

Harpa Concert hall in Reykjavik.

Every evening after the sun goes down, it starts a light show that is visible on the outside of Harpa.

Harpa Concert hall in Reykjavik.

Research integrated with clinical care- an inspirational visit to Pamplona

By: Camilla Hellspong, Department of Clinical Neuroscience

In the beginning of spring, I went to a sunny Pamplona to visit La Clinica Universidad de Navarra. The clinic is private aswell as the university and hosts several departments, open health care units, and has an in house clinical trials unit performing academic and sponsored clinical trials from fase I to III, a lot similar to the KTA of Karolinska University Hospital.

The fase 1 unit houses 8 beds for volunteers participating in first in human studies with an advanced monitoring capacity for the safety of the participating subjects. The subjects are all students from the university and the clinic holds a large database of volunteers to choose from. The clinic has centralized resources with administration, electronic medical records integrated in the research setting, a clinical trials management system for keeping track of the trials run in the hospital, progress and documentation. The clinic also hosts a PET scan, an MR-scan, a clinical laboratory and a Pre-clinical unit with trials in pigs, dogs, monkeys, rats, mice and fish

I was presented to one of the senior researchers in the university unit Patricio Molero Santos, who showed me the psychiatric clinic in the hospital.

The clinic has support from social workers, psychologist, psychiatrists and work therapists providing couples therapy, child and adolescence assessments for neuropsychiatric disorders and other evaluations. There is a way of working transprofessional to make sure the support provided collaborate in order to provide the best possible care for each patient. Dr Morales explained to me that they are influenced by the Swedish way of organizing psychiatric care in this way.

The coordinator of the clinical trials unit Joana Reis de Carvalho and her team: coordinators, secretarys, project managers and senior researchers, received me in the best possible way.

After two days of waking up my sleeping Spanish, a lot of useful information, laughter and sun, I came back to Stockholm with new ideas. I gained a lot of energy to keep on working in developing Centre for Psychiatry research to one of KIs best units in providing support to PIs of the clinical research produced at CPF.

Global citizens and culturally agile graduates

By: Emma Hägg, International Coordinator, International Relations Office

In late November I attended an “EAIE spotlight seminar” in the Hague focusing on Internationalisation at Home (IaH), or Internationalisation of the Curriculum (IoC) which is in fact the same. As new in my position in the International Relations office and involved in the IoC-project this seemed like a great opportunity to do a crash course in IaH and to build my network. /Emma Hägg, International Coordinator at the International Relations Office, KI.

Shifting focus from mobility to cultural experiences

The goal in Europe for student mobility is 20% and few are close to the goal. The average for Europe as a total is less than 6%. We have to move from mobility to interculturalisation because everybody is not mobile.

We have to shift focus from growing numbers of mobility to the rest, according to Elspeth Jone, keynote speaker. She referred in her presentation to 10 recommendations on IaH from the EAIE blog.

  1. IaH is for all. The mobility is additional. IaH is not the second best option…
  2. Move beyond electives and specialized programmes
  3. International learning outcomes
  4. Support the informal curriculum like buddys and social events
  5. Use cultural diversity in the classroom
  6. Engage with cultural others in learning environments/situations
  7. Involving all staff not only the international office
  8. May or may not include teaching in English – just translating is not the way to go
  9. Virtual (digital) mobility
  10. Foster engagement with international students


IaH – purposeful and for all

Early adaptors of IaH (2000) were countries with small languages in Europe (Scandinavia, Netherlands). Most common misconceptions of the concept is that it is only about: teaching in English, a second best alternative to mobility and that international classrooms are a necessity and that is where “it happens”.

The definition of IaH is that it is PURPOSEFUL and for ALL students! Netherlands are beginning to see IaH introduced already in primary school as it provides young people with an important traversal skills. It is important to start early as students that go on exchange have a special mindset. This mindset can in fact also be developed at home outside your comfort zone (Mezirows disorienting dilemma). It is really about preparing students for the uncertain and unpredictable. We should move from international education to “multiperspective” education. Linking local and global. Shorter or other international experiences (COIL – collaborative online international learning) can also be valuable – the important factor is to REFLECT on the learning! Make the intercultural learning EXPLICIT!

Final reflection and take home message: We need cultural agile graduates and global citizens to build the future in an unpredictable world  – the university has an important role to play!

Design, define and redefine

By: Emma Hägg, Communications Manager and Coordinator at KI Career Service, Education Support Office

Design, define and redefine…I am thinking that it is what it is all about. My own and everybody else´s career…it is a process of constant development.

KI Career Service represented by me, Emma Hägg, and Anethe Mansén together with Hillevi Nordqvist from HR is attending a meeting in Helsinki, the International Staff Exchange Week (ISEW) focusing on career education and career monitoring alumni. 37 delegates from 30 universities in 13 different countries meet and share experiences and best practice. It is fascinating spending 48 hours together with people interested in the exact same things as you – the energy is high in the room!

Over the hours we discuss our work and it all boils down to a number of challenges that most of us working with career service are facing.

It is called career education for a reason – it should be part of the curriculum. Students need to strengthen the knowledge of who they are, what options are out there and how to actually find them. As universities we have a responsibility to make graduates employable. It will be a process to encourage academics to include this topic when constructing future study plans. In Helsinki University it is mandatory to do a 10 ECTS credit course in career education on BA level and also included in studies on MA and PhD level. Something for the rest of us to strive towards.

We must remind ourselves that our best strategy to reach out and remind our students and researchers that we are available is through cooperation with study counselors, academics, current students and alumni – we are all part of university services.

We must help students understand the value of practical experiences and how this links to their theoretical knowledge acquired within their fields of study. Be it an internship, summer job or study or staff exchange experience. In the UK there is a system with employability awards where students can utilize their extracurricular work experiences and transform them into employability skills through reflection. That is where the learning takes place, combining theory, practice and reflection. Maybe we should introduce a KI Employability Award?

Wording is important. There are many words that students can not relate to or make some of them stressed like career, planning, success and networking. We are here to prepare and support them to take the next step into the job market but the career journey is theirs to make. Planning might also not be so much planning but rather following your interests – one attending career counselor actually asked all of us if we had ever planned to work as career counselors?

It is a balance between planning and grabbing opportunity when given – you just have to design, define and redefine!

Ever thought of redefining your own career? Why don’t you check out this page – Career’s at KI – you will find Erasmus Teacher and Staff Exchange there among many other things…


Blowin’ in the wind…

By: Albertine Ranheim, Division of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet

When landing in Bodö airport the pilots always do a ‘whoop’ so the plane kind of jumps sideways onto the landing strip- doing it ‘the Bodö way’ they say to adjust to the winds and weather…

A student told me that if it should stop blowing, the people of Bodö would probably fall flat on the ground…as they always lean towards the windJ

I had the opportunity to visit University Nord for a few days in late April, to initiate a possible academic collaboration and to get to know of the activities there. What met me there was a newly built university with modern architecture and a highly technological library- Norway certainly has economic resources!

The University offers a bachelor’s program in nursing which is conducted in 9 different campuses. It has a catchment area the size of Sweden’s Norrlands landscape- Huge!

In campus Bodö, they also offer two Masters programs focusing on clinical Nursing and on research and science training which currently have 22 students. PhD students are also connected. The department offers research training which currently have 6 PhD students. Nursing and caring science have had a period of re-ignition at this University and they have recruited professionals from other Nordic countries to initiate higher education and research. Here, they collaborate with the European College of Caring Sciences (EACS) as well as with the Nordic College of Caring Sciences (NCCS). These organizations collaborate with the intent to provide a pool of expertise and knowledge related to improving health and care. The task of EACS and NCCS is to develop, support and disseminate new scientific knowledge nationally and internationally, and NCCS strives to represent Nordic health researchers’ interests.

During my days in Bodö, there was a meeting when people from all the University campuses gathered for joint work, lectures and presentations, together with researchers and professionals from the Nordic countries. Some flew in from the outer islands in the Lofoten archipelago and others travelled hours by trains or cars over the snowy mountains to join the event.

It is quite exotic as the weather may change 10 times a day and wherever you are positioned in Bodö you have the remarkable sharp and snowy mountains in front of you as well as the wild and powerful Atlantic ocean rolling. A small city with wild nature and lovely culture, and a University that is worth a visit!

Albertine Ranheim, Division of Nursing, Karolinska Institute



International Collaboration on University Safety – the start-up

By: Ingela Djupedal at the Property and Facilities Office

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London in late February is a pleasant change from a cold and grey Stockholm. Although the skies were also grey, London had a distinct springfeeling with flowering camellias and the lawns of Kensington park coloured violet by masses of crocuses.

As fitting for an attendee of a safety meeting, I was woken up by the fire alarm, OO-EE-OO-EE-OO-EE-OO! In a daze, I grabbed my boots, jacket and handbag, and also my glasses, without which I cannot see properly, and ran out into the corridor where I met the other guests, like me wide-eyed, in their pajamas and morning coiffures. Fortunately for everyone, it was a false alarm. Burnt bacon had generated smoke that caused the alarm to go off in the kitchen and we could return to our rooms.

I had come to London in order to network with experts in the field of laboratory safety. Imperial College, with its impressing campus in south Kensington in central London, was hosting a meeting titled “Safety: the Human Perspective” and professionals from the USA, The Netherlands and the UK had gathered for seminars on various safety aspects in university settings. The Chancellor of UCLA was there to present their work conducted in the wake of the fatal chemistry accident in 2008, as well as the Rector Magnificus of the University of Delft who described a devastating fire that very same year. Seminars ranged from reports and analyses of real accidents to behavioural psychology , how to prevent accidents and how to promote safe workplaces.

In the late afternoon, I met with representatives from Imperial College, University of Delft and UCLA to discuss future collaboration. We discussed common challenges, made a list of priorities and a plan of coming activities and even came up with a short and descriptive name for the newly started venture -“International Collaboration on University Safety”.

The next day, me and a colleague from the University of Delft, joined a laboratory safety inspection in one the laboratories at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College, followed by a general tour of the laboratory buildings. The recognition factor is high in laboratories all over the world. This was no exception. The same types of flasks & beakers, pipettes and equipment, even the furniture were familiar, as well as the smell of agar plates. It was nice to see that laboratory safety was considered a serious matter by everyone, including faculty, and I had a very good impression of the safety culture at Imperial College. I got a few good ideas for improvement of laboratory safety that are easy to implement by just looking around.

After a long day I headed back to Heathrow and Stockholm with tired feet and an inspired mind full of new impressions.