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Five things Malmö University is terrible at

You definitely shouldn't study at Malmö University if these five things matter to you.

Five things Malmö University is terrible at
Photo: Malmö University
1. Being traditional

When you think of academia, perhaps visions of ivory columns, stuffy, monotone-voiced professors and dimly-lit libraries with bad air circulation come to mind. That’s definitely not the case at Malmö University. Having only been in existence for 20 years, the University doesn’t have all that tired institutional baggage. The buildings are smack-bang in the city and even have artsy, shape-shifting window installations. Students run the uni’s social media account, and even the actual traditions are not that traditional. Take, for example, the academic ceremony, where newly appointed professors get awarded rings made from repurposed firearms.

2. Acting like a grown-up

A couple of years ago in Sweden, Malmö University was not-so-affectionately dubbed Malmö lekskola, or ‘Malmö play school’ – a reference to the supposedly lax teaching approach and ‘soft’ subjects the University is known for. Well, the rumours are true. Playing, experimentation and creativity are vital parts of learning, and Malmö University believes that subjects like language, design and communication are just as important as number crunching and lab work. There is even a seminar series entirely dedicated to smells. So, sorry snobs, but what kind of world would it be without poetry and art to express ourselves, or a focus on the environment when thinking about innovation? Or without a critical look at media and how it shapes society? Sign us up to the play school any day.

3. Sticking to one thing

If there’s one thing the University is really bad at, it’s making clear-cut choices. For example, would you rather go to an in-depth academic talk on artificial intelligence, or have a chill night out with friends at your local bar? Well, why not both? Malmö University’sKnowledge Bar’ takes research out of the labs and lecture halls an into one of the city’s most lively bars, inviting everyone to crack open a cold one and learn about some of society’s most pressing issues.

4. Regular study

If you think studying is about sitting on plastic chairs trying not to fall asleep in front of yet another Power Point lecture, think again. At Malmö University, students are enthusiastically encouraged to engage with their surroundings and the community, whether that means live streamed, interactive seminars with classmates across the globe, getting support to create their own start-ups, or figuring out how to make Malmö a more sustainable city by ‘co-designing’ with locals.

5. Robots

Okay, this is something the University is genuinely awful at: making robots. Evidenced annually at Hebocon – a competition organised by the Internet of Things and People research centre, where robots fight each other for fame and glory. The competition is open for all, especially amateurs and the technically ungifted, which makes for some, uh, interesting, stand-offs. Prototyping and design meet complete ineptitude in this glorious, true-to-form celebration of creativity, failure and fun! 

This article was produced and sponsored by Malmö University.

EDUCATION

‘They feel conned’: Swedish universities fight for PHDs hit by new residency rules

Sweden's top universities are to call for doctoral students to be exempted from Sweden's tough new permanent residency rules, arguing that it will damage both academic standards and national competitiveness.

'They feel conned': Swedish universities fight for PHDs hit by new residency rules
At Lund Technical University, a majority of doctoral students are international. Photo: Kennet Ruona/LTU

In a post on Wednesday, Astrid Söderbergh Widding, the chair of Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions, said that Sweden’s universities had agreed to submit a joint letter to the government “very soon”, calling for parliament to put in place a special exemption for PHD students to make it easier to stay in Sweden after their studies. 

The parliament, she wrote, “should introduce an exemption for doctoral students and young researchers from the requirement to be financially self-sufficient”. 

Previously, doctoral students were eligible for a permanent residence permit if they had lived in Sweden with a residence permit for doctoral studies for four out of the past seven years. Apart from a slim set of requirements, this was granted more or less automatically.

But according to Sweden’s new Migration Act, which was introduced in July this year as comprehensive legislation to control the number of asylum applications, they now need to be able to additionally show that they can support themselves financially for at least a year and half.

The new law means that the rules for permanent residency are now the same for all categories of applicants, including doctoral students.

Stefan Bengtsson, the rector at Chalmers University of Technology, said that the change would mean as many as 400 to 500 doctoral students, many of whom have built up considerable expertise, might be unable to stay in Sweden.

“This makes for an uncertain future for those from outside of Europe who have applied to come to Sweden for an academic career, which is cause for great concern and disappointment among those who came here under other circumstances,” he told The Local. “Some of them may, of course, feel like they’ve been conned

But what was even more worrying, he said, would be the impact the change to the law might have in the longer term. 

“This change to the law could contribute to giving Sweden a bad reputation. This will create difficulties in recruiting internationally and damage our long-term skills supply.”

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At Lund University, the majority of doctoral students in the science and technical faculties are from outside Europe, while Söderbergh Widding, who is also vice chancellor at Stockholm University, estimated that about half of doctoral students were international. 

Söderbergh Widding told the TT newswire that the change was “a devastating death blow”, which put to waste a “previously hard-won battle to make it possible for doctoral students to obtain a permanent residency permit after four years of studies”. 

She said in her letter that the change contradicted the research policy proposition from December 2020, which stated that the “number of foreign doctoral students who stay in Sweden should increase”, and said that giving residency to doctoral students was a good way to increase this.  

Ole Petter Ottersen, the rector of the elite Karolinska medical university, told the newswire that he thought the change in residency laws would damage Swedish competitiveness. 

“This is not good for Sweden. This will damage our ability to attract and recruit talent from other countries. For a country that lies on the periphery, the goal should be to make it easier, not harder, to recruit competence.” 

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