On 31 August, the Government decided that the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat’s base of activities in Stockholm will be relocated to premises in Luleå, where the Secretariat will have its registered office. According to the information which the Secretariat has received, the move from Stockholm to Luleå should be completed by 30 June 2019.
What does the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat do?
The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat is a national governmental agency with the task and responsibility of co-ordinating and promoting Swedish polar research. The Secretariat does not conduct its own research, but rather the primary task of the Secretariat is to organise and support research expeditions to the polar regions, and manage research infrastructure. The Secretariat also contributes to establishing the requisite preconditions for polar research which is conducted without actual fieldwork.
Which parts of the activities will be moved to Luleå?
The activities of the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat currently conducted in Stockholm will be relocated to Luleå. The activities at the Abisko Scientific Research Station are not affected by the relocation.
How many positions does this involve?
Presently, some 15 positions are based in Stockholm.
Which units and functions does this concern?
It primarily concerns the Department of Administration, the Department of Communication, senior management, plus parts of the Department of Marine Research and Innovation.
Will the activities at the Abisko Scientific Research Station (ANS) be affected?
The research station will receive Swedish and international researchers in the same manner as today. If you want to visit the station during the summer of 2018, the application should be made by 31 March at the latest.
How many of the employees will relocate to Luleå?
It is too early to know for certain, however further into the process we will know how many employees are interested in moving with the Secretariat. Previous relocations of governmental agencies/authorities have shown that very few of the employees actually choose to stay with the agency after the decision to relocate.
When will you start recruiting new employees to work in Luleå?
We will start recruiting the first employees to Luleå during winter/spring 2018. Information about all job openings will be posted on our website.
Your previous agency Director-General left his position at the end of the year – is that because of the relocation of the Secretariat?
Not at all. Our previous Director-General Björn Dahlbäck’s contract concluded on 31 December 2017, and already back in 2016 he turned down a renewal of his contract. The recruitment for the position of agency Director-General was announced by the Government earlier during the spring of 2017 and later during the year they appointed Katarina Gårdfeldt as new Director-General of the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat. Katarina is Associate Professor of environmental inorganic chemistry and was at the time the Director of the Centre for Environment and Sustainability, GMV – a network organisation at Chalmers University of Technology and University of Gothenburg that promotes research and education for sustainable development.
She has previously been a researcher on several research expeditions in both the Arctic and Antarctica, for example, she was Co-Lead Scientist during the Arctic Ocean 2016 expedition.
Katarina Gårdfeldt took the position as Director-General of the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat on 1 January 2018.
Will the relocation affect the activities of the Secretariat?
It is a huge task to move a governmental authority. Experience from previous relocations of governmental activities shows that the activities are adversely impacted during a transitional period, which in some cases can amount to as much as three to four years.
We will do our utmost to maintain fully-functioning operations even during the transitional period. Initially, the focus has been on labour and employment law issues and therefore, contacts have been established with the Swedish Agency for Government Employers (Arbetsgivarverket), the Job Security Foundation (Trygghetsstiftelsen), trade unions and occupational safety representatives, among others. A risk assessment with an action plan is being developed in order to ensure the provision of skills and expertise, and their transfer to new employees.
The Secretariat will do everything within its power to establish the best possible preconditions so as to maintain fully-functioning operations and a good working environment for its employees. At the same time, the relocation may provide opportunities for streamlining and improving the operations over the longer term.