Uppsala University sums up a year dominated by the coronavirus and looks ahead

22 February 2021

Students at the English Park campus

The coronavirus pandemic had a huge impact on the University in 2020. Many classes and lectures had to move online. Being able to use outdoor campus areas helped.

Uppsala University’s activities underwent major changes in 2020 due to the pandemic, including digitalisation at record-breaking speed, a large increase in student numbers and a broad pivot to research on COVID-19. The Annual Report, which was adopted by the University Board today, shows a stable university that continues to grow.

In the spring, the University responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by rapidly switching to online tools for education. Research also underwent a reorientation, with numerous projects focusing on COVID-19 research starting up in a very short time.

“This was a year when the role of research in tackling societal challenges became strikingly obvious to everyone. With all the creativity typical of our institution, the University succeeded wonderfully in coping with the rapid adaptation of education while continuing to move forward,” says Vice-Chancellor Anders Hagfeldt.

Continues to grow

The University continues to grow. Over a five-year period, turnover has increased by SEK 788 million to SEK 7,398 million in 2020. During the year, the University was particularly successful in obtaining EU grants, recording the highest amounts for more than ten years. Battery research continued to forge ahead during the year, notably through the competence centre Batteries Sweden (BASE) and coordination of the long-term European research initiative Battery 2030+. Several other research initiatives were also launched during the year, such as WoMHeR, a centre for women’s mental health, and the Centre for Medical Humanities (CMHS). Another new venture was AI4Research, which is dedicated to advancing research in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

“Strong disciplines put Uppsala University in an excellent position to create transdisciplinary and challenge-driven research. We will continue to strengthen multidisciplinary environments at the University,” says Hagfeldt.

More than 50, 000 students

The number of registered students increased by 14 per cent compared with 2019 to over 50,000 (equivalent to 28,289 full-time students). In percentage terms, growth was stronger in freestanding courses than in programmes and stronger at Master’s than at undergraduate level. The number of students paying tuition fees increased slightly, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, while the number of exchange students fell by more than 30 per cent. The number of on-campus students on Gotland rose to 1,401, approaching the target of 1,500 on-campus students in 2021.

In 2020, the European Commission approved the application from Uppsala University and eight other universities to form the European University ENLIGHT.

Need for long-term funding

The University Board also adopted the budget submission to the government for 2022–2024. Here the University emphasises among other things the desirability of giving permanent status to the temporary places for students allocated to higher education institutions in 2020. The conditions are favourable for permanently increasing the number of students. With regard to research, the University stresses the importance of continued investments of direct government funding without co-financing requirements and the need for long-term funding for the development of Campus Gotland, as well as stable basic funding for the FREIA Laboratory engineering facility.

Last modified: 2021-02-04