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New FFA wants to broaden the perspective and work strategically

Published Mar 24, 2022

Last week, Björn Berggren was appointed new 1st Deputy Head of School for ABE. He will also take on the role as the new Head of Faculty Renewal, FFA, for the school.

Professor Björn Berggren, 1st Deputy Head of School and Head of Faculty Renewal (FFA)

How does it feel to have been appointed Deputy Head of School and FFA?

- I am very happy to have been offered this opportunity, I am honoured! It feels very inspiring to take on some completely new things and be part of new contexts. It is so easy to get locally narrow. I have become more interested over time in what is happening at KTH at central and school level, where the major strategic decisions are made. You can learn a lot from the school-wide assignments, and I was ready for a new challenge. To begin with, there is a lot to learn and get acquainted with, but I feel a great sense of security in that there are many competent people here who knows how things should be done and a solid foundation to start from. It feels exciting, and very fun!

How do you view your new assignment of being responsible for the school's faculty development and recruitment?

- It is a super important issue, and a key factor! I have worked a bit before with recruitment but I look forward to developing that work, so it feels inspiring! We need to get, and keep, the right people in the right place to be able to compete with our research, education and collaboration. People are the foundation. I see it as a matter of quality work - if we can ensure that we have efficient processes, work long-term and strategically and include gender equality and diversity, it creates the basis for recruiting the best for all positions. There is a lot that works very well already, but there is always development potential and I think that is exciting! The strategic outlook is sometimes missed out on when there's a panic to solve who will hold a certain course next semester.

What is step 1 for you?

- Now in the beginning, I am in many meetings and work on refreshing my knowledge on employment issues and processes. I need to start from scratch and familiarise myself with the entire hiring process, from the need for recruitment to the new employee being in place. Previously, I have only been part of the beginning for example when wroting the call texts, and at the end with the interviews as part of the recruitment committee, and of course I have seen the process from the outside as an applicant. So now I get concrete "On the job training" with HR about the processes and routines that exist. Then I look for inspiration from different sources.

What do you want to develop?

- In the future, I will work a lot with the Heads of Departments who knows what their part of the organisation needs in the short and long term. I want us to be even better at recruiting and broadening the perspective. I think we can become even clearer in both what we offer and want. It is difficult to get international applicants, and get the very best, but there are innovative ways to work more proactively. It is a big investment to bring in an associate professor or a professor, so there is a lot to be gained from refining the processes, clarifying the roles and further improving how we communicate with the applicants. Even small adjustments make a difference.

In addition to your new Deputy Head of School role, what will you do?

- I will continue to be KTH's responsible academic for strategic work in Southeast Asia, 1 day a week. There, focus is on student recruitment and research collaborations. My role is to be a networker who will create opportunities for new collaborations, and develop and deepen the strategic partnerships KTH has in the region. It is very exciting, for example, we have several new upcoming doctoral positions together with NTU Singapore. I will also continue to have a small amount of teaching and supervision. I still think it's a lot of fun to teach, meet young people and follow their development, so I can not let that go completely!