EECS Award of the Year 2021
Two winners of the EECS award this year
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science honorary nomination 2021 is, in two equal parts, awarded to Educational administrative manager Marianne Lundin och Professor Wouter van der Wijngaart.
Wouter van der Wijngaart
Congratulations Wouter, how does it feel to receive the EEGS Award 2021?
“I was a little surprised. So many colleagues at EECS have done a fantastic job, and I had myself actually nominated another person.”
What has it been like to do research and teaching during the pandemic?
“Like many of you, I have learned to appreciate the work from home but lack the social interaction and creativity that arises in physical encounters.”
What has been the biggest challenge? The most unexpected thing that happened?
“As an immigrant, you have to live with Swedish corona policy. It has sometimes felt shocking.”
Are there any highlights you can share?
“During the past year, several of my students have published innovative and profiled research results!”
I know that you, as an IA and researcher, are passionate about communicating your research. What do you see as the biggest challenges in making your colleagues understand why it is important to communicate their research outside the academic world?
“We at EECS are most focused on research and teaching. Other requirements, e.g. the pursuit of improved sustainability, diversity, impact, research communication, etc., is perceived by many as 'disruptive' in this context. In a larger perspective, I think this is an expression of too much focus on short-term 'efficiency' and too little on long-term 'resilience'. Without sustainability, diversity and influence, I believe we can not grow or remain leaders in research and teaching. The problem is to communicate this need without being able to point to scientific measures as evidence of this.”
The money is traditionally used for a travel scholarship, what would you like to immerse yourself in to include in the work of further improving?
“We should preferably refrain from travelling for climate reasons. I have not really decided what to do with the money, but the summer holidays will give me time to think!”
Congratulations Marianne, how does it feel to receive the EECS Prize 2021?
“I am, of course, honoured and am also happy that I have been awarded the prize based on my assignment within the school's educational support. It is encouraging that attention is paid to administrative support for teaching and education.”
What do you see as the most important thing in your role as a manager?
“To engage and enthuse my employees and create a positive work climate where we work together with a clear focus on the development and improvement of our own operations as well as corresponding operations at the entire KTH.”
What drives your commitment to education issues?
“For me, it is a privilege to work with issues related to higher education. At a reputable and highly ranked university such as KTH, it is my opinion that not only education and research should be world-class but also all administrative side work that makes this possible, as well as the service and support offered to our students.”
Of course, it has been a challenge to support our teachers and students during the closure of KTH due to the pandemic. What has been the biggest challenge?
“The biggest challenge has been the uncertainty, which has meant that a large part of the education office, with short notice, quickly had to change operations based on new needs. Another major challenge has been the sharp increase in mental illness among students and postgraduate students due to the pandemic.”