We build the future with competence and collaboration

Chronicle · Helena Jerregård, vicerektor för samverkan vid Mälardalens högskola · 2020-03-31

We can probably agree that the corona pandemic will be demanding in many ways and we must work together to curb the negative development. For example, it is important to take advantage of the opportunity for skills development so that we are ready when the recovery takes off. Many issues and alternatives are discussed and at Mälardalen University we prepare together with various actors to support industry and society with the resources and tools we have at hand.

In recent years, we have built up a strong range of distance education within digitalisation, AI, software development and energy systems. We are now exploring the possibilities of broadening and scaling up these offers to be able to contribute with the development of skills for staff who are laid off.

Increased educational activities aimed at professionals require greater resources. One possibility is to collaborate with people from the industry who can, for example, step in as teachers or help us develop the necessary IT support.

We are also looking at long-term solutions to retain important competence in the region. During the financial crisis of 2008-2009, Mälardalen University developed the program Prepare, which offered doctoral training for employees at affected companies. When the industry then recovered, people could be re-hired by their former employers or find new career paths with the help of their enhanced skills.

At Automation Region's annual meeting on March 25, I was elected to the Board as a representative of Mälardalen University. It is great to be back in a new role and I am proud and pleased that Automation Region has developed in such a fine way.

The annual meeting, by the way – a very well planned and implemented distance meeting where Automation Region showed that digital meeting technology can actually add dimensions of participation and commitment. New forms of meeting have a great potential for Automation Region to further expand its network.

As a representative on the Board, I will work to further strengthen the collaboration between academia and industry. For example, I think we can be even better at involving researchers and students in the business. Here too, digital meeting places create flexibility and value.

It is clear that the corona pandemic is increasing the pressure in the development of digital solutions and business models. Automation Region is a neutral forum for discussions about how we together can take advantage of innovations and develop smart solutions that help us through the crisis.

Helena Jerregård
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Mälardalen University
(and once process manager for Automation Region)