Lene Frost Andersen is new head of institute

The result of the election for head of institute is clear. From 1 January 2017, Lene Frost Andersen will be head of the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences.

Lene Frost Andersen is new head of institute

The result of the election for head of institute is clear. From 1 January 2017, Lene Frost Andersen will be head of the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences.

The first woman

The institute has had its present name since the merger of a number of institutes in 1990, but its history reaches as far back as 1815 and the establishment of the Institute of Anatomy. No former leaders of the IMB or of the institutes that were merged to form the IMB in 1990 have been women, nor have we ever before had a nutritionist as leader.

Historic election turnout

This is a historic election in many ways, also because we had one of the largest election turnouts in university history. Nearly 80 per cent of the academic employees, and more than 75 per cent of the technical-administrative employees voted. The most surprising feature, however, is the involvement of the students, nearly 65 per cent of whom voted. In the last election of the rector, turnout amounted to less than 50 per cent for both groups of employees, and a meagre 14 per cent for the students.

Broad involvement

The turnout testifies to a great degree of involvement prior to this election. What does the new head of department think about the turnout?

‘I think that the amount of involvement in this election is absolutely fantastic. A high election turnout indicates that the staff and the students believe that the head of institute is important to them and to the future of the institute, and that’s why they want to make use of their right to have a say in this.

To me personally, it’s of great value to know that so many people at IMB have chosen to vote – it’s important to enjoy the trust of the staff and the students.’

Motivation and creativity

‘The debates at the general assemblies showed that there are numerous ideas about how the institute is run. Which challenges do you see as the major ones to be addressed?’

‘If I should highlight one particularly great and arduous challenge, it would be the IMB’s finances. Ensuring sufficient resources to produce the best possible research and teaching, and ensuring a good infrastructure at IMB will be important elements that I will focus upon. In collaboration with many others here, I will need to work purposefully within the institute, in relation to the Faculty and UiO’s central administration as well as externally to access sources of funding.

I’m looking forward to collaborating with many others here at the institute – I’m convinced that there are many ideas, creativity and constructive proposals regarding how we can improve our access to resources.’

What will you need to do to succeed?

‘IMB is a large institute and I have a strong desire to get to know everybody working here. I will keep my door open so that I can address the challenges that undermine motivation and creativity, which are two of the main drivers of progress at the university.’

‘In your opinion, what are the main challenges that the University is facing?’

‘UiO’s Strategy 2020 and the Strategic Plan 2010–2020 for the Faculty of Medicine both point to a number of key challenges that need to be overcome if we are to attain the ambitious goal of developing UiO into a top-league international university. I wish to highlight the requirement for provision of research-based education of high quality in all areas, although many may think that the research will have a narrower scope and the focus will be more programme-based.’

From professor to head of institute

‘This is one of the most demanding jobs you could have chosen. How much of your time do you plan to devote to research over the coming years?’

‘I have several projects and PhD candidates underway, and I will follow them up. I realize, however, that there may be limited time available for research, and for exactly this reason I took ample time to consider whether or not to run for election. Now, I will work for and on behalf of the entire institute, and an important job for a leader is to help others advance.’

‘Something completely different: when you want to relax after work, what do you do?’

‘I spend time with my family and friends, I run or go for walks with my dog and just let my thoughts wander.’

By Kyrre Vigestad
Published Nov. 16, 2016 12:31 PM - Last modified Oct. 8, 2020 3:22 PM