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New Head of School at EECS

Published Dec 15, 2020

Welcome to KTH, Sonja Berlijn, our new Head of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).
How does it feel?

“Fantastic, exciting and something I am really looking forward to. I am passionate about research, education and development which I have dedicated my entire career to. The areas the School covers are also spot on, when it comes to what I have been working with or been interested in, all my professional life in various ways.”

Why have you chosen KTH?

“I have spent time in the enterprise sector in various rounds, and more recently, I have been Senior Vice President R&D at Statnett in Norway, which owns and operates the national grid. When the opportunity arose, I was keen to enter academia and especially KTH, which I have followed with great interest and admiration from the outside. As an outsider, I feel I can make a big contribution with the experience I have in my locker and I am bound to learn a great deal at the largest university of technology in Sweden.”

Portait showing Sonja Berlijn.
Sonja Berlijn, new Head of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science . (Foto: Mats Kvarngren)

Going from the enterprise sector to academia can be a giant leap. How do you view this?

“I think academia and enterprise need to develop through cooperation and that this is incredibly important for Sweden Ltd at a time when industrial and digital development is progressing at lightning speed. Here, it is a case of ensuring academia does not lag behind and instead tries to keep up with industry stride by stride. It is within academia that we shape the future. It is also vital that we keep up and position ourselves nationally and internationally.”

In addition to becoming Head of School, you will also be Sweden’s or maybe the world’s first Professor of Sustainable Integrated Energy Systems. How will this be reflected in your work at KTH?

“Firstly, I need to bed in, in my role as Head of School. I will be a link between electrical engineering and computer science. I will start by giving a few guest lectures in different courses, and in time, I hope to head a research project corresponding to 20 percent of my workload. I already have a few ideas in my head.” 

What issue is closest to your heart?

“To create a sustainable planet for future generations with the aid of technology and education. We are supposed to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but how are we going to get there? Here, we will need to develop secure and digitalised power systems for example, and this is closely linked with sustainable development, (sustainable) transport, industry and production. Maybe even more than what we think at present.”

Berlijn joins on a part-time basis from 1 February and then full-time from 12 April 2021.

Text: Jill Klackenberg

On her CV

Berlijn is from The Netherlands where she studied electrical engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology. She gained her PhD at Graz University of Technology in Austria and an MBA at Melbourne University. Since then, she has worked in research and development within the energy and high voltage area in various ways and from different perspectives. Berlijn moved to Sweden in 2000.

She joined Statnett as Senior VP R&D six years ago and was also Professor II at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences which roughly corresponds to an Adjunct Professor in the Swedish system. She was recently elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, IVA.

Page responsible:Marianne Norén
Belongs to: Current
Last changed: Dec 15, 2020