Two departments become one
On July 1, the Production Engineering and Sustainable Production Development departments will merge into one. We had a chat with Magnus Wiktorsson, who will lead the new department located on two campuses – and that will be given a new name.
Magnus, why merge IIP and HPU?
"The whole purpose is to strengthen the production area within KTH. We have had two departments that mainly work towards the same target group, with the same societal challenges, and in the same field of research. Now we can create critical masses. In addition, education in the production area will be more vital through complementary skills and infrastructure".
How will this benefit ITM?
"We get one department for the whole production area, in addition, its size will be as the other ITM departments. Hopefully, education and research at KTH Södertälje can also become more integrated into KTH's other activities".
What is the strength of the new department?
"One strength is that we can communicate internally and externally one department for production and manufacturing. We can offer combined expertise in everything from production technology at machine and process level to production systems at factory level. One strength, which is also a challenge, is the breadth of the new department. We have courses in about ten educational programs: Technical Preparatory Year, master of science engineering, bachelor of science in engineering, master's program, and third-cycle education; we have extensive experimental environments for both education and research; we are located on two campuses, and our research is based on a very close collaboration with many industrial parties. It gives us enormous strength if we can work together".
How do you keep a department located in two different cities together?
"I think that will be one of the significant challenges. We need to look at what is most important to collaborate on and what is run more efficiently locally. Naturally, we will have common structures and forums where we can meet. II hope we can regard both places as opportunities. To be in Södertälje when it is the most suitable and in Stockholm when optimal.
At the same time, we should not overstate this issue. Many of us in Södertälje commute from Stockholm, and after doing so myself for four years, I can say that I get 45 minutes of quiet working time on the commuter train from the center, followed by 15 minutes walk through a quite cozy Swedish town. And when I arrive, I can enjoy some of KTH's nicest office environments. It's worth a try!"
Do you have any planned activities so everyone can get to know each other?
"We start with the launch of the new department on June 9, to which all staff at both departments are invited. We will also give time for some get-to-know-each-other mingling. We also have working groups that have a professional dialogue to get to know each other. But I see June 9 as just a start of creating the department. We will need to continue getting to know each other to take advantage of each other's strengths."
What are the challenges in this merger?
"A constant challenge at KTH, in my opinion, is to have resources and time to develop the operations while we also deliver. For better or worse, it is often the same people who do both. Both departments are fully engaged in providing high-quality education and research, coinciding with several other internal development processes, establishments, and reviews. At the same time, a lot is happening that is positive and challenging in the manufacturing industry around sustainability, circularity, electrification, digitization, etc., which affects both the content and form of research and education. We would like to include so much in this merger, but we must also see it as the start of more long-term work".
You can vote on what the new department should be called – have you submitted a proposal?
"We have had a voting function via our internal website for the merger, and it is now closed. We received about 15 name suggestions that are now under discussion in various forums. There are many aspects to consider when choosing the name of a department".
Text: Anna Gullers