Change the world with a master’s degree from Sweden’s Linköping University

Master’s students at world-leading Linköping University (LiU) aren’t there simply to study. They solve real-world problems alongside experts in fields that can create a better tomorrow. Do you have what it takes to join them?

Change the world with a master’s degree from Sweden’s Linköping University
Photo: Linköping University
When LiU Professor Jan Lundgren began studying traffic systems, he couldn’t have predicted that his field would one day become quite so central to society.

“When I started in this business some 30 years ago, the transport service was a very low tech business. Now you see that tech companies like Ericsson, Siemens and IBM are all entering the sector.”

He explains that with the application of modern technology, the traffic systems sector has never been more relevant.

“We have self-driving cars and big data availability. Everything will be connected with everything and it all relates to traffic systems. Sometimes I feel the area is just becoming more and more relevant.”

Find out more about the master's programmes at Linköping University

What’s more, he adds, it has a pivotal role to play in safeguarding the future of the planet.

“The environment is something that concerns everyone. We talk about a fossil-free society — transportation is one of the main contributors of negative environmental impact. And so working with traffic systems is to work for a better environment.”

Professor Lundgren heads up Linköping University’s Intelligent Transport Systems and Logistics master’s programme, a unique degree that combines knowledge about the transportation system, like supply-chain modelling, road safety and project managements, integrated with technology designed specifically for the transport industry.

Photo: Professor Lundgren

It’s an intense multi-disciplinary programme taught entirely in English that teaches students to understand, develop and control transport systems — skills which are highly coveted today and will almost certainly continue to be so in the future.

“You can say the overall concept of this program is the same as the research we are doing within our department. The traffic system exists all around the world so with this education students can work pretty much anywhere and the problems are essentially the same.”

As with many of the courses at Linköping University — which is a world-leading university based between three campuses in Linköping and Norrköping in southern Sweden — students aren’t there simply to study. Since LiU is the co-ordinating university of the Swedish National Postgraduate School of ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems), they are at the frontline of research in the Swedish transportation industry.

As such, the course is hands-on, challenging and just as fast-paced as real-world working life.

“We have very few written exams. Instead we have a lot of assignments, lab reports and project work,” explains Professor Lundgren.

READ MORE: Is this the best Swedish university for international master’s students?

He adds that when he interviews students some years later, which he always tries to do, this is what they say they found most valuable and that prepared them best for life after university.

“There are rarely written exams when you have finished your studies. You have to deliver, co-operate and work on projects. We prepare students for this.”

Photo: Linköping University

You can really follow your interests’

Linköping University researcher Professor Maria Huge Brodin didn’t immediately jump at the idea when she was asked to join a project about the environment.

“It was the early ‘90s and at the time it wasn’t seen as a ‘cool subject’,” Professor Brodin recalls with a hint of humour. 

As it turns out, she found her calling and went on to obtain her PhD in recycling and logistics for recycling. Then, when the environment became a hot topic in around 2006-2007, Professor Brodin was well positioned at the forefront of the industry. It’s now one of the most critical issues faced by the world today and Professor Brodin is at the heart of it.

“When people started bringing the environment into every topic, I was there. Then it became cool!”, she laughs.

Now, Professor Brodin describes herself as a mechanical engineer who “turned green philosophically”, and is the world’s first professor of environmental logistics. Her current research concerns green business models and technology for logistics service providers.

Photo: Professor Brodin

She also manages the Energy Environmental Management degree programme at LiU, mainly taught in Swedish. The master’s programme in Sustainability Engineering and Management is taught entirely in English.

Find out more about the master’s programmes at Linköping University

“It’s a unique programme in Sweden. We focus on companies’ profitability and sustainability in all dimensions. This is what distinguishes our research and what we’re known for,” she explains.

She says that by studying and researching transportation, students can address an area that affects everyone from the average person to major companies. For example, Professor Brodin’s research at Linköping University has involved postal giant DHL and Sweden’s national postal service PostNord.

“We focus on reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases for climate change reasons. By studying and researching transport, we address a difficult but very important area. Our work has impact on companies not just within logistics but on business models for sustainability in general.”

READ MORE: The Swedish university where students tackle real-world problems

Professor Brodin adds that master’s students have the chance to effect real change because, like many master’s programmes at LiU, the teaching is not wholly theoretical. 

“The master’s students often have projects in which companies have given them real-life problems which they help to solve. They are also encouraged to take internships when they do their thesis.”

She adds that environmental logistics is a young field which allows both researchers and master’s students more freedom to conduct cross-disciplinary research.

“You can really follow your interests while making a valuable contribution and being creative in the area, which is quite unique.”

Find out more about the master’s programmes at Linköping University 

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This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Linköping University.

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Norway shuts all schools and universities to fight coronavirus pandemic

Norway is closing all schools, kindergartens, and universities to slow the spread of coronavirus, in what Prime Minister Erna Solberg has called "the most far-reaching measures we have ever had in peacetime in Norway". (Paywall free).

Norway shuts all schools and universities to fight coronavirus pandemic
The law department at Oslo University. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
“All the country's kindergartens, schools, primary schools, secondary schools, technical colleges and universities are to be closed,” Solberg confirmed at a press conference held at her cabinet office on Thursday, according to a report by state broadcaster NRK
The measures, laid out in detail on the website of Norway's Health Ministry, will apply from 6pm on Thursday and remain in force until March 26. 
They also include a provision requiring everyone who has arrived in Norway from anywhere apart from the Nordic countries since February 27 to enter into compulsory quarantine in their homes, whether or not they are displaying any symptoms. 
Solberg said that though difficult, the measures were necessary to slow the spread of coronavirus. 
“We are in a difficult time, both for Norway and for the world,” she said, according to the VG newspaper. “The drastic measures we are now taking are in the hope of stopping the virus. We are doing this in solidarity with the elderly, the chronically ill, and others who are particularly at risk of developing a serious illness. We must protect ourselves to protect others.” 
She warned employees faced with unexpected childcare demands not to call on elderly relatives for help. “We must remind you who we should most be looking out for. We should therefore not hand over childcare to grandparents who are in the risk category.” 
Erna Solberg delivered the address at her cabinet offices. Photo: Norwegian Government
Camilla Stoltenberg, Division Director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, estimated at the briefing that between 22,000 and 30,000 people would be hospitalised as a result of infection, with up to 7,600 requiring intensive treatment.
The measures announced include: 
  • Closure of all schools, kindergartens and universities.
  • A provision requiring primary schools and kindergartens to stay partially open in order to look after the children of key personnel in healthcare, transport and other critical social functions.  
  • Cultural events, sports events, gyms and businesses offering hairdressing, skincare, massage, body care and tattooing are all banned. Swimming pools will be closed.
  • Buffet restaurants are banned. Other restaurants, bars and cafés must ensure guests are kept at least one metre from one another.
  • A requirement for everyone arriving in Norway from outside the Nordic to enter quarantine, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. This is retroactive to 27 February.
  • Restrictions on visitors to all the country's health facilities and the introduction of access control.
  • People are asked not to visit institutions housing vulnerable groups (old people's home, psychiatric hospitals, prisons etc).
  • Healthcare professionals working with patients are banned from travelling abroad.
Shops will continue to be open as normal, and the Ministry of Health advised people to shop normally and not seek to  hoard food.
The transport system will continue operating as normal, but people are encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel. 
Shortly after the press conference, King Harald V of Norway issued a statement saying that the Royal House was suspending all official engagements until Easter. 

“Our country is in a serious situation that affects individuals and society as a whole. It is crucial that we all participate in the national effort to avoid exposing ourselves or others to infection,” the release read. 

“It is therefore important that we all follow recommendations and orders from the authorities. We must contribute what we can to prevent the spread of the virus, and I would especially like to thank health professionals all over the country who are doing their utmost to remedy the developments. We all hope that the situation will soon turn around.” 

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.