At the graduation of 455 candidates from the University of Iceland last Saturday, Kristín Ingólfsdóttir, Rector, welcomed the governmental policy that income for the University should be in accordance with the average income of universities in the OECD countries. There are currently 16,000 students and employees at the university.
Rector placed great emphasis on that how future prosperity in Iceland relied on increased economic growth, which in part would come from academic activity. “The aim of the University’s contribution to growth is clear. On the one hand the education of people to work in established industries and training to develop them further, and on the other the creation of new knowledge and products based on research and science,” said Ingólfsdóttir in her speech.
She gave an example of how research laid the foundation for growth, especially by initiating collaboration between scientists and students from different subjects. She gave an example of an innovative project that is both connected to established and new industries and the Icelandic language. Ingólfsdóttir spoke of three growth companies that are based on research in ophthalmology in collaboration with subjects like computer science, statistics, pharmacology, and electrical engineering. Rector said that the University’s size and diversity enabled scientists to combine their efforts in this manner and that parameters were being laid down to greatly increase such collaboration.
Ingólfsdóttir urged the Icelandic government to encourage individuals and companies that are willing to support the University with financial contributions through tax incentives. “The good will and deeds of the University’s benefactors are extremely important. It is common abroad that governments afford tax incentives to those that who wish to support sociological efforts such as university work. It has been discussed repeatedly by the Icelandic government, but never been put into effect.”
Ingólfsdóttir named numerous benefactors that have supported the University’s research and scientific work through the years. Among them are Western-Icelanders who contributed greatly to the University of Iceland. Other benefactors are: Bent Scheving Thorsteinsson, Ingibjörg R. Magnúsdóttir, Toshisho Watanabe, Selma and Kaj Langvad, Bragi Freymóðsson, Sverrir Sigurðsson and Ingibjörg Guðmundsdóttir, Eggert V. Briem, Guðmund P. Bjarnason, Erlendur Haraldsson, Ásrún Einarsdóttir, Godtfred Vestergaard and Áslaug Hafliðadóttir.
Source: University of Iceland