New Head of the Department of Pharmacy: “Our target is a world-leading position”
As of 15 June, Jukka Rantanen is Head of the Department of Pharmacy. Jukka enters the position with years of experience from the Department, massive ambitions and a firm eye on internationalization and education.
What were your main reasons for applying for the position?
First, I feel that it is time to repay the Department after many years as professor.
I got a professorship at the age of 34 and thus joined the Department in January 2006. It feels like it is time to start working at a different level and seeing academia from a new angle. I would like to focus on strategic planning at a department level, and I enter this position with the utmost respect for the Department and all of its researchers.
Also, I want to find out how one can make an impact on university management as a non-Dane with limited Danish-language skills. I am sure this will pan out – and I am proud to broach the issue.
200: PhD, Department of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, Finland
1998: MSc (Pharmacy), Department of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, Finland
1997: MSc (Chemical Engineering), Department of Chemical Engineering, Helsinki University of Technology (current name: Aalto University), Finland
2006-: Professor, Department of Pharmacy, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
2017-: Guest Professor, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, China
2003: Visiting Scientist, Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy, Purdue University (IN), USA
2001-2004: Senior Research Scientist, Viikki Drug Discovery Technology Center (DDTC), University of Helsinki, Finland
What are the 3 primary themes you would like to focus on as Head of Department?
Education of a wide range of pharmaceutical experts
The Life Sciences area is crucial to Denmark and makes up a significant part of our export.
We need to keep up to speed with the educational needs of the pharmaceutical experts that drive the Danish Life Sciences – ranging from BSc level to life-long learning. This we need to do together with our sister department, the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, as part of our ongoing joint efforts.
We have to truly internationalize the Danish Life Sciences community
The Department of Pharmacy is a crucial part of that. We are in a position to attract both students and researchers from abroad.
International MSc programmes, internationalization of research training, international mobility and internationally attractive continuing education are key to this – along with other initiatives meant to ensure that the international experts stay in Denmark. Of course, securing a recognisable and highly international profile and even increasing the international visibility of the Department of Pharmacy is also essential to that end.
Safeguarding top-level research at the Department of Pharmacy is vital
At the same time, we need to identify new directions with a potential for major breakthroughs, e.g. integration of digital elements into pharmaceutical care. We have to continue the saga of world-leading pharmaceutical research at the Department. This includes minimizing the hurdles for performing top-level research at the Department of Pharmacy – something that applies to the entire Faculty.
“Jukka is a shooting star at SUND. And I am truly thrilled to have him on board the management team and as Head of the Department of Pharmacy. I think Jukka will do great, and I share his focus on education, top-level research, internationalization and the crucial link between the University and Danish Life Sciences."
What challenges do you see for the Department – and what do you intend to do in that regard?
I will focus on ensuring that the pharmaceutical training can keep up with the rapid societal changes. Sustainability of pharmaceuticals, ageing population, digitisation in healthcare – just to name a few.
We also have to implement new elements into research and research-based teaching, such as digitisation. We need to make a cultural change to ensure that our students are not afraid of computer-based pharmaceutical sciences.
Finally, it is my ambition to make sure that Copenhagen-based research within the pharmaceutical sciences reaches a world-leading position. I will do so by creating strong team spirit and a supportive environment at the Department of Pharmacy.