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Anders Sandblad is the first in the world to have a PhD in Work-Integrated Learning (AIL). Here with Bo Göranzon, senior professor in AIL, Ulrika Lundh Snis, professor in Informatics and Lars Svensson, professor in Informatics.

- It's a very special day! This has been a strategic long-term work, so of course I am  excited and proud today, says Vice-Chancellor Martin Hellström.

The university has as the only university in Sweden the government's assignment to develop Work Integrated Learning, WIL, and it is also the university's overall profile. Since 1 January 2020, it has also been possible to attend a doctoral program in Work Integrated Learning at University West, when WIL was established as a postgraduate subject, which does not exist anywhere else in the world.

- I think it is brave of us to put a new academic subject at that level. It is a great teamwork behind where we have shown courage together and seeing Anders Sandblad today as the first PhD in WIL is extremely gratifying, says Martin Hellström.

Equally happy and proud is Ulrika Lundh Snis, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Work Integrated Learning at University West, who works strategically to develop WIL in education and research.

- What a milestone for our university! Many of us at the university are passionate about WIL, but as Deputy Vice-Chancellor with this special responsibility, it obviously feels a little extra today. Personally, I am also particularly happy as I have been Anders' supervisor throughout his dissertation. He really contributes to the development of the subject WIL, says Ulrika Lundh Snis, also Professor of informatics with a focus on WIL.

On the subject of WIL
WIL is thus a new, completely unique interdisciplinary postgraduate subject related to primarily the social sciences and humanities. The subject focuses on the relationship between working life and learning. Within the subject WIL, various aspects of learning can be studied, such as pedagogy, psychology, caring science, sociology, informatics or business administration. Areas that can be researched are, for example, what happens to the conditions for learning when organizations, professions and professional roles change. Other areas are about the development of Work Integrated Learning through new tools, such as information technology.

- Today we have 34 doctoral students within WIL so there is great interest. We are just in time and meet a need that exists in society when it comes to learning that is changing. A subject and research area that obviously interests many, says Kristina Lindh, director of research education at University West.

About the dissertation
Anders Sandblad's dissertation "Yrkeskunnande Maskiner Människor" is about professional skills and what happens when work tasks are transferred to technology. The purpose is to contribute to the understanding of professional knowledge, its role and development in an increasingly digitalized working life. The interest is directed towards the experience-based knowledge. Anders Sandblad was initially enrolled as a doctoral student in informatics with a focus on Work Integrated Learning and changed to the subject WIL when the opportunity arose. Hence the short postgraduate time in the subject AIL (“on paper”).

There will be a news article that focuses on the content of Anders Sandblad's research after the Christmas holidays.

Martin Hellström, Vice-Chancellor,, +46739 01 33 51
Kristina Lindh, Director of Research Education,, +46739 01 33 72
Anders Sandblad, PhD in Work Integrated Learning,, +46709 89 16 07