En blogg från Högskolan i Borås

måndag 2 mars 2015



I was at Arcada University of Applied Science, Helsinki, Finland from 23rd February to 27th February to contribute and gain knowledge within my research field. The staffs at chemical engineering department, Arcada University are interested to learn the on-going research at polymer department, Högskolan i Borås. In turn, we at polymer department would like to learn different testing methods from Arcada University. Transfer of knowledge is the main purpose of my visit.

The trip was planned when Rene Herrmann from Arcada University visited Högskolan i Borås last year to learn bio-based thermoset resin synthesis and teach non-destructive testing methods to researchers at polymer department. The plan was proposed for funding under Erasmus European Union staff exchange program. The plan was further discussed in detail with Mikael Skrifvars at Högskolan i Borås and Rene Herrmann at Arcada University on successful funding application. It was agreed that I will teach the students to synthesize bio-based thermoset polyester resin and list of required chemicals was sent to chemical engineer Björn Wiberg at Arcada. Further, the lab procedure and method was sent to staff and students before my arrival.

Upon my arrival to Helsinki, the university here provided accommodation close to University and Rene Herrmann introduced his colleagues and students. Resin synthesis is not performed often in Arcada, so the apparatus required was not available. It was challenging to set-up ‘own’ apparatus with whatever glass-wares available. To do resin synthesis, one needs rotary evaporator and synthesis setup; both were built successfully with available resources. I have never done this before and it was exciting to build up these apparatus for the first time.

Evaporator built using vacuum pump and available glass wares
Once the apparatus was setup, the synthesis reaction was practically explained to the students for the first two days. The students were curious and asked several questions regarding chemical reaction, apparatus and testing. Motivated students came forward to do calculations and testing. Next two days the students were able to do testing on supervision. I gained teaching experience and learned new things while teaching and answering students’ questions.
With some students who learned bio-based thermoset resin synthesis
Final product
Helsinki is beautiful city and it is less crowded compared to other capitals in the world. I met my friend Emma who took me around the city. It was very good staff exchange experience which will always remain in my CV.

tisdag 17 februari 2015


Under veckan 9 till 13 februari 2015 hade jag igen möjligheten att föreläsa inom ramen för E-TEAM masterutbildningen i textil teknologi. Mina föreläsningar handlar om polymera kompositmaterial, dvs. fiberförstärkta plastmaterial, och omfattar 20 h föreläsningar under 5 dagar. Sju deltagare från Sverige, Tyskland, Italien, Pakistan och Indien deltog, och deltagarna har alla en textil bakgrund på BSc-nivå.

Vårterminen 2015 inom E-TEAM utbildningen sker i Turkiet, närmare bestämt Uludag University i Bursa. Bursa är en miljonstad, ca 2.5 miljoner människor, och staden ligger söder om Istanbul. Till Bursa tar man sig från Istanbul med färja över Marmarasjön, och resan tar ca 1.5 h med färja, därtill ytterligare ca 30 min med taxi.

Uludag University är ett jätte-universitet jämfört med Högskolan i Borås, samt universiteten i Sverige, 46 000 helårsstudenter, av vilka ca 1500 på masternivå och ca 730 doktorander. Personalen omfattar 420 professorer, och 490 assistant eller associate professor. Det finns 11 fakulteter och 19 forskningscentra. Inom fakulteten Engineering and Architecture finns Textile engineering department, och denna institution grundades år 1976 som den andra institutionen för textil teknologi och textila ingenjörsutbildningar i Turkiet.

Undervisningen och forskningen fokuserar på textilingenjörsområdet, utbildningar gällande mode och design, eller textilt management finns vid andra universitet. Totalt finns  25 professorer och ca 15 lärare och forskningsassistenter. Generellt kan man säga att den tekniska kompetensnivån är mycket hög, även ur akademisk synvinkel. De flesta disputerade vid institutionen har antigen disputerat i USA eller Europa, eller varit postdoc i USA eller Europa vid ett bra och välkänt universitet. Gällande faciliteterna och labbutrymmena, så är det som man ser många gånger då man besöker utländska universitet även i Europa, att dessa är på en nivå som är lägre än den vi är vana vid i Sverige.

Gällande det textila området, och speciellt kompositmaterial och annan teknisk textil, så är Uludag och Bursa intressanta och bra partners för Högskolan i Borås. I Bursa-regionen finns det många betydande textila företag, samt även betydande och stora tillverkare av komponenter för bilindustrin.

E-TEAM kursdeltagare 9-13.2.2015. I bilden ses även professor  Recep Eren, som var kontaktperson och värd vid besöket. Den turkiska gästvänligheten och hjälpsamheten är mycket stor, man känner sig mycklet välkommen av alla man träffar, och samma kan man uppleva då man rör sig i Bursa på marknader och gator.

Sammanfattningsvis kan man konstarera att detta besök var mycket givande, och kommer att möjliggöra  samarbeten med Uludag univesity både gällande forskning och utbildning.

Mikael Skrifvars, professor i polymerteknik vid Högskolan i Borås.

onsdag 28 januari 2015

Minor Field Studies - Malaysia

23rd of January 2015 - Singapore - 新加坡共和国 - Singapura

Marina Bay Sands, Marina Bay, Singapore
To be back in Singapore, after working at the National University of Singapore in 2012, is very exciting. The purpose of this trip is to go to Malaysia, but first I stay for two days here in the lovely "Lion City". Since there are no lions in Singapore, one might wonder why it's nickname is Lion City. There is a long story, but to make it short; in Malay Singapore is Singapura - derived from "Singa" for lion and "Pura" for city.

I have an interesting day ahead, going to work as a volunteer and plant trees at the Pasir Ris Park.

25th of January Malaysia – Johor Bahru

Pulai Springs Resort, JB, Malaysia
I got much later than expected to Malaysia today due to something I ate last night. Quite troublesome to go through the Woodlands Checkpoint feeling sick, there is like a highly secured fort at the border of Singapore/Malaysia. Well, it was worth the trouble once I arrived at my hotel in Johor Bahru. I was supposed to meet with the the faculty today, but it changed in the very last minute. Early night to get ready for a morning meeting at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, UTM.

26th of January Malaysia – Johor Bahru - Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

Visit at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, UTM
My morning meeting took place at Media and Game Innovation Centre of Excellence (MaGICX), located on the UTM campus. The director of MaGICX, Dr. Mohd Sharizal Sunar, and Dr. Farhan Mohamed started the meeting with a presentation of their research centre and UTM. 
We discussed possibilities for computer science and information systems students from the University of Borås to do field studies in the region. 

They were interested and are willing to help students from Sweden applying for a Minor Field Study scholarship, great news for students with ambitions of conducting field studies in Malaysia. 

During the morning I was also introduced to other members of MaGICX and had a chance to see what kind of research they were conducting.

At lunchtime I was introduced to Dr. Adrian David Cheok from City University of London. He is a professor of Pervasive Computing and is setting up a new research lab in Iskandar, in the south of Malaysia. This region is very dynamic and interesting things are happening here! 

27th - 28th of January Malaysia – Johor Bahru - Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

I participated in the weekly morning meetings at MaGICX. The staff meet on Tuesdays for three presentations by either seniors, Ph.D students or master students. Excellent opportunity for me to get an insight in their work. I also had a chance to introduce myself, the purpose of my trip and my own research.
After a nice lunch it was time for a campus tour, UTM has a large and lush campus. They even have stables at the campus!
The last meeting of the day was with the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Computing, Dr. Siti Zaiton Mohd Hashim. We realized that we had a lot to discuss and booked another meeting the following day.

onsdag 10 december 2014

Staff Training Week in Barcelona, Spain, 2014

I am writing this blog because I want to share my valuable experience what I have got during the staff training week in Barcelona. I will discuss this staff training week and its outcomes in detail later on. First of all, I would like to thank Erasmus Staff Mobility Program and University of Borås for providing me this prestigious opportunity to improve my professional teaching career.
This year I was really lucky because at first I had found staff training week in Barcelona, Spain (from 24th November to 28th November) which was mainly focused on the importance of linguistics for lecturers in more competitive academic environment and then I got Erasmus Staff Training Grant from University of Borås. This was the perfect combination I wanted to have to boost my academic career.
My journey was started from Borås on 23rd of November at 8:00 am and I reached to Barcelona at about 23:00 via Stockholm. It was really long and tiring flight but I was welcomed by a pleasant weather with 20 degree C temperature which made me more energetic. Next day, 24th of November was the first day of staff training week. The staff training week was organized by SpainBcn-Programs in Barcelona, which is a small private institute and mainly deal with different kinds of training programs in several professional fields. They have quite good setup at the centre of Barcelona city, Placa de Catalonya.
We were 14 participants for this training program from 9 different European countries and most of us are serving as academic professionals in well-known universities. Due to this, we got this opportunity to share our scientific ideas, to learn about diversified cultures and to make good contacts with them for future prospects.
The training program started at 24th of November and continued till 28th of November. It consisted of 25 hours intensive study plan with comprehensive and valuable lectures, written assignments, at the spot presentations and practical performances according to the given situations. The whole program was constructed very well which provided us not only the strong basics of the subject but also taught us how to handle different situations in teaching profession. The most interesting and valuable part of this training program was to prepare the scripted clips where we had to perform according to the assigned tasks. Overall, I have had learnt very important and hidden tactics of teaching from this one week training program. I am pretty sure that this experience will act as a launching pad for my successful teaching profession.

Despite from these academic activities, organizers also arranged two cultural activities which included the guided tours of Gothic Quarter and Montjuic Museum of History of Art MNAC. I was really fascinated by the beautiful architect and priceless art what Barcelona's museums have preserved in their laps. I have had captured some of these spectacles in my camera and shared in this blog.

On the whole, this staff training program is one of the most important and unforgettable experience of my life I have ever had.


onsdag 15 oktober 2014

Lärarutbyte Borså / Hull University- Sepideh Olausson

En dag på brittisk intensivvårdsavdelning!

Jag är helt slut efter att ha besök Hull Royal infirmary. David Muir och Mandy Price introducerade mig i den brittiska intensivvårdens struktur och uppbyggnad. Jag reflekterar över flera skillnaden mellan det svenska systemet och det brittiska. Den största skillnaden är att sjuksköterskor "uppgraderas" efter intern utbildning och antal år på IVA och inte behöver ha en formell IVA utbildning för att arbeta som IVA-SSK. Däremot har varje person en egen meritportfölj som visar vilka utbildningar är genomförda och vilken kompetens vederbörande har. Ett nationellt framtaget dokument. När jag väl får besöka själva avdelningen så är det nästan så att jag vill börja jobba! Jag känner igen mig helt och fullt och min kropp känner igen den helt galna miljön. Det tjuter överallt, dåligt med belysning och ett hektiskt tempo. Avdelningen är byggd i början av 80 talet och genomgått mindre ansiktslyft bara. De har 24 vårdplatser och förser hela regionen med IVA-platser! Fick också kontakt med några personer som var och lyssnade på min föreläsning igår och då var så klart diskussionen om IVA-miljöns inverkan på patienter, närstående och personal i gång :)

Utbyte Borås & University of Hull- Sepideh


Liten sammanfattning av första och andra dagen i Hull. Det har varit två dagar med mycket intryck, många möten och fruktansvärt mycket regn!

Efter lite äventyr hittade jag till universitet för att träffa Jackie och Mike som är "ansvariga" för mig under detta besök. Jag har fått ett eget kontor med allt som behövs för att kunna känna mig hemma under dessa dagar, verkligen toppen! Första dagen ägnades åt möten med bland andra biträdande prefekt. Vi diskuterade hur vårt samarbete kan utvecklas framöver, både när det gäller studentutbyte och forskning. Därefter fick jag en tur på universitet som är ganska stort och består av många husöar av Catriona som är ambassadör på fakult. och det verkligen regnade katter och hundar som de uttrycker det här. Efter denna mycket blöta tur, var det dags att förbereda min undervisning. Naturligtvis glömmer jag tiden och inser vid 19.30 tiden att jag kanske borde åka tillbaka till hotellet. Det visar sig dessutom att jag var ensam och inlåst i huset. Och nej ingen panik här inte, jag lyckades tillslut hitta en dörr ut som inte var larmad. Tänk så fruktansvärt pinsamt det hade varit om jag hade råkat lösa ut larmet...Väl ute så myllrar student livet på....underbart att se så många studenter ute i färd med att ta sig till olika ställen.

Min reflektioner över denna dag: det känns att  vi har identifierat flera områden där vi kan samarbeta och att det finns flera personer på båda lärosäten med samma intresse.

Dag två
Denna dag inleds med ett tretimmars långt seminarium för personalen på fakultet! Jag presenteade min avhandling och mina metodologiska överväganden. Det var riktigt spännande och roligast av allt tyckte att var närvaron av doktorander. Jag fick många frågor och vi hade en givande dialog. Denna dag fick jag också en tur på universitetes enhet för klinsika färdigheter. Enheten är tre våningar och de arbetar med kliniska färdigheter redan under andra veckan i utbildningen! Alltifrån handtvätt till matning och hur man byter om innan man lämnar ett patient rum. Jag fick uppfattningen att de arbetar mycket med att bygga upp studenters självförtroende och förbereda de inför de kommande patientmöten. De arbetar också en del med dramabaserat lärande på centret. Nyligen fick de en donation (stort belopp) och har investerat i många moderna simuleringsverktyg. Det är ju över 300 hundra studenter som ska genomgå kliniska färdigheter och examineras. Spännade.

På agendan idag är besök på intensivvårdsavdelning vid Hull Royal Infirmary!

tisdag 16 september 2014

Teaching sabbatical 2014


My name is Tobias Richards and I’m current on leave from my work as a professor at Univeristy of Borås in Sweden.

I’ve been fortunate to receive a scholarship from STINT (The Swedish foundation for cooperation in research and higher education) within the program Teaching Sabbatical. The purpose of this scholarship is to get inspiration and exchange knowledge and experience from world leading Universities and Colleges regarding education and teaching at different levels; from undergraduate to graduate. My first choice was University of California Berkeley, which also become my destination for the fall semester 2014. The reasons for choosing UC Berkeley (or commonly known as Cal) were several. It has one of the most respected graduate schools in the US and are continuously ranked among the top three University in the world (www.shanghairanking.com) with first place in science, chemistry and physics and one underlying idea with this teaching sabbatical, from my point of view, was to include both undergraduate and graduate studies and to see the connection between them. It is also ranked as the best public national University in the US regarding undergraduate teaching (www.usnews.com/education).

Student gathering at UC Berkeley for one of the welcoming ceremonies in 2014

In my ordinary work, I lead a research group within thermal treatment of mixed material with a special emphasis is on waste materials and sustainability and from that perspective it is really fascinating to live a couple of months in one of the most progressive states regarding sustainability. I will be interesting to see how sustainability and waste management are incorporated at the university and especially how it is communicated and received by the surrounding community. It was therefore encouraging to see that on the fare for the new students, one of the stands were dedicated a zero waste univeristy by 2020.

Stand at the student fare in August 2014

This blog will have two different pillars; one educational and one regarding sustainability where the common denominator is the University. The intention is to have about two posts every month where my experiences and findings are expressed.