SWEDEN: Lund to employ up to 400 new researchers

Lund University in the south of Sweden will use a huge accumulated surplus to employ up to 400 new researchers and teachers this year. The surplus amounted to SEK451 million (US$63 million) at the end of 2009 and it will be spent on expanding staff, recruiting 1,000 additional students, renovating buildings and investing in research infrastructure.

"We have been very good at winning external research contracts in hard competition," Lund Rector Per Eriksson told the local newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet. "But we have not had time to employ new staff."

Eriksson said there had been a delay in the expansion although the Helsingborg campus would be expanded by 1,000 students who are guaranteed housing. Another SEK10 million has been invested to prepare for an expected fall in student enrolments from outside Europe when tuition fees are introduced in 2011.

Another SEK100 million will be invested in teaching halls and laboratories, and to open the university area with more meeting places. SEK47 million will be invested in research infrastructure.

Lund has an annual budget of SEK6 billion, nine faculties, 46,000 students and 6,000 staff. Its budget is slightly less than Copenhagen University, a 40-minute train ride across the Öresund bridge. Yet as Lund is expanding, Copenhagen is laying off more than 100 staff because it faces an acute economic crisis.

Lund will also be home to the planned European Spallation Source or ESS, a unique research facility for materials based on the world's most powerful neutron source. The ESS is expected to provide research breakthroughs in medicine, energy, environment, climate, communication and transport.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2018 at a cost of SEK14 billion and could create 20,000 new jobs and add SEK200 billion to the Swedish economy while attracting 5,000 research visitors a year.