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Innovation hothouse

education Updated: Oct 30, 2013 11:07 IST
Ayesha Banerjee

Churches, cobbled pathways, sculptures, fountains, mansions, and the most beautiful library building imaginable… Lund is an old university town so lovely that you want to move in here and start studying all over again.

Located in southern Sweden and once a part of Denmark, Lund hosts one of the oldest universities in the Scandinavia. Interestingly enough, this ancient institute, officially established in 1666 and tracing back its roots to 1436, is also at the forefront of modern research. The ultrasound; dialysis; Nocturnal Vision - night vision tech, Nicorette - that helps smokers kick the habit; the artificial kidney and Bluetooth technology have their roots here.

Which is why, explains Lund University deputy vice-chancellor Eva Wiberg, their vision is to understand, explain and improve the world and human conditions.

The 47,000 students on campus are pursuing studies in economics and management, engineering, fine and performing arts, humanities and theology, law, medicine, science and social sciences. The university is also a member of international research-intensive university networks, the League of European Research Universities and Universitas 21, Wiberg adds.

International marketing manager Maria Lindblad says there is strong focus on research and innovation in material science and nanotechnology; e-science, animal migration patterns, diabetes and cancer. Two of the world's leading materials research facilities are being built here. The MAX IV lab will be the world's foremost synchrotron radiation helping in materials and nano research. The European Spallation Source is a facility for materials research which has potential for breakthroughs in medicine, environmental science, climate, communication and transport.

Other interesting programmes here include the master's in sustainable urban design. Students grapple with problems of urban decay and lack of geological perspective when designing buildings. They study and explore how urban growth can be channelled into environment-friendly, inclusive and liveable environments. Gisele Paiva, a master’s student from Brazil, talks about a project he had to do for a city where the waterfront had to be incorporated into the design. “We had to focus on the encounter of the city with the landscape and design spaces which catered for a higher density of footprints, yet ensured that people would be able to enjoy the scenic views,” he says.

Signe Damgaaard Nielsen from the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, also talks about an interesting project for which students in her department had to work out solutions for the water crisis in Kurseong, Darjeeling, India.

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