Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland, sent the following message to University staff and students today (25 May 2021):
"Dear students and colleagues,
The University of Iceland is the foundation of industry and progress and the opening of the Gróska Business Growth Centre in the Vatnsmýri area has created a lot of opportunities for collaboration with Icelandic companies. Gróska and the University of Iceland Science Park have been a kind of hub for Iceland Innovation Week, which is taking place at the moment, and the building was designed to be a melting pot for innovation in all areas. The game developer CCP has now taken up residence there, cultivating close links with the University. The first collaboration between the University of Iceland and CCP is an exciting online course about friendship in an age of growing video gameplay. The course was launched the day before yesterday at an event attended by Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, the President of Iceland, and will be available through edX, one of the world's best known platforms for open online courses. The course will explore the multifaceted social impact of video games and seek to answer the question of whether virtual friendships have the same significance as conventional friendships. I urge you all, not least our students, to take a look at the course, which is free for participants.
The University of Iceland is highly involved in Iceland Innovation Week, with events such as a speed date with the startups of the University of Iceland. Tomorrow there will be an organised walk through Reykjavík harbour district to celebrate innovation in the fishing industry. Nobody is better placed to lead the walking tour than Sigurjón Arason, professor emeritus at the University of Iceland and head engineer at Matís. Sigurjón's passionate interest in fishing and fish processing has been the driving force behind a huge range of innovation in one of Iceland's most important industries. Sigurjón's efforts to find solutions in collaboration with the fishing industry clearly demonstrate how important it is that universities and industry join forces to develop sectors of the economy and create value that benefits society as a whole.
An important milestone in the development of a new and ambitious strategy for the University of Iceland was reached this week when the University Forum discussed the strategy and submitted it to the University Council. The University has always taken its obligations to Icelandic society very seriously. The goal of the new strategy is to create a better university, which will in turn lead to a better society for the Icelandic nation, guided by the principles of quality, trust and agility. However, the new strategy also looks beyond our borders, designed to expand international collaboration in all fields and bolster trust in the international academic community.
The University of Iceland uses various metrics to gauge our performance on the international stage and we recently learned that the University has been included on the Shanghai Global Ranking of Academic Subjects for the fifth year running. The latest Shanghai Global Ranking was published this week and the University of Iceland continues to rank among the world's leading institutions in the field of remote sensing. We are also in the top 45 for electrical and computer engineering and in the top 500 for 14 other subjects. This wonderful success is a testament to your hard work, dear students and colleagues, and it is thanks to you that the University of Iceland has repeatedly been included in such prestigious international rankings.
The arrival of students for the University of Youth marks the start of summer on campus, when young people come to explore the wonders of their environment, the biosphere and human society with University of Iceland scholars. Today is the first day of registration for the University of Youth, an outreach programme for children aged 12 to 14 who are eager to learn. There are fewer spots available this year due to restrictions on gatherings and I urge people to act quickly as soon as registration opens.
Dear students and colleagues, The recent easing of public health restrictions has certainly brought life back to the University of Iceland campus. However, new infections in the community are still being reported and we must remain cautious, taking care to minimise the risk of infection at all times.
United we will prevail.
Have a good weekend.
Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector"