Skip to main content
21/01/2022 - 10:58

Knowledge is the foundation of industry and progress

Knowledge is the foundation of industry and progress - Available at University of Iceland

Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland, sent the following message to University staff and students today (21 January 2022):

"Dear students and colleagues,

This week saw the launch of an enormous online course on personalised medicine, offered jointly by the University of Iceland and the University of Copenhagen. Personalised medicine refers to healthcare services that are tailored to an individual patient's needs, as opposed to providing the same treatment for everyone with a certain disease.

Personalised medicine is, by its nature, interdisciplinary and has never previously been taught at the university level in Iceland. This is an innovative new approach that many people believe is the future of medicine. The instructor representing UI is Sædís Sævarsdóttir, professor at the UI Faculty of Medicine, consultant in rheumatology at Landspítali University Hospital and scientist at deCODE genetics. The other instructor is Sisse Rye Ostrowski, professor at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen.

The course aligns with the Strategy of the University, UI26, which places emphasis on progressive international collaboration, practical application of information technology, user-centred services, and digitalisation. The course also highlights innovation in the healthcare sector that promotes health economy while at the same time improving the quality of care, with patient wellbeing as the priority. The content therefore covers a number of areas that are of huge significance to individuals and our society.

The pandemic continues to affect our work at the University. With this in mind, we are now starting to look ahead to two events that for many years have been major points in the winter calendar: the February graduation ceremony and the University Open Day. Due to the pandemic and the public health restrictions, unfortunately we will not be able to organise these important events in the same way as normal. The graduation ceremony on 19 February will look the same as last year's ceremony, with degree certificates presented in the foyer of the University Cinema one school at a time. Further details will be released shortly. 

The University Open Day will be entirely online and many of our students and staff will be extremely busy on 26 February as we open up lively dialogues with anyone who is thinking about applying to university. This year, all service units at the University will be available via web chat, as well as a large number of current students who will present their programmes to interested prospective students. I would like to thank everyone who is now hard at work to prepare for the University Open Day. It is an event that is important not only for us here at the University of Iceland, but for everyone planning to pursue higher education and our society as a whole, for knowledge is truly the foundation of industry and progress.  

It has now been confirmed that the University of Iceland will be transferring some operations to the Bændahöll building at Hagatorg. The plan is to do this in several stages, with the aim of utilising the entire building for University of Iceland operations and Icelandic Student Services by the autumn of 2024. This is wonderful news, not least because this building will house the new headquarters of the School of Education and a range of services that will further improve our University. 

Sigurður Magnús Garðarsson, professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been hired as dean of the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences at the University of Iceland for the next five years, until 30 June 2027. He has served as dean of the School since 2017. Sigurður Magnús has worked at the University of Iceland for almost two decades and led a huge number of reforms to advance the University's strategy during his time as dean.  In recent years, he has also chaired the board of the University of Iceland Science Park.

I would like to draw attention to the fact that we are now seeking candidates for the position of dean of the School of Health Sciences, since Inga Þórsdóttir, professor of nutrition, will be retiring as dean this spring after 10 years of service. The five school deans hold an enormous amount of responsibility, working under the authority of the rector to lead their schools academically and advance the University, in line with the new strategy. 

Dear students and colleagues. The coronavirus is unfortunately still spreading widely and the incidence rate is high. However, we can see that the vaccines are providing a high level of protection, better than some feared when the latest variant began to take hold. Let's follow the public health rules as best we can, keep our distance, wash and disinfect our hands and wear a face mask. Alongside the vaccination programme, these precautions are the key to helping society move on from the pandemic. 

Take care. Have a good weekend. 

Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector"