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Maria Knutson Wedel

Maria Knutson Wedel
In June 2019, I became the vice-chancellor of SLU. I want to work with and continue developing our university through good, professional leadership, internationalisation and sustainable development.


SLU plays an important part in achieving a sustainable society. We conduct research and education that relate to many of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals – Agenda 2030 – not least to their complexity and conflicts between objectives. We have a history of close collaboration with society. As a university, we contribute to solving global challenges, such as food security, energy supply as well as both human and animal welfare. And we are always close by, regardless of where you live in Sweden.

My path to SLU

I became a Master of Science in Engineering Physics at Chalmers University of Technology, but the journey from my low-income suburb to a university was not straightforward. A fun degree project with ABB Switchgear at the Department of Physics subsequently led to a doctoral project with Sandvik Hard Materials. The common denominator was transmission electron microscopy and how microstructure controls material properties.

After I received my doctoral degree in 1996, I got a post as assistant professor at the Department of Metallic Materials. I did research on new materials and taught materials engineering and engineering design. Here, my environmental interest benefitted both my guest lectures as well as my own courses.

In addition to research and education, I am committed to internationalisation, sustainability integration and leadership. Starting from 2000, I have for many years been part of an initiative (CDIO – Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate), developing a new engineering education model. As a global theme leader in a fast-growing network, I saw the importance of international connections and experience exchange in order to become a high-quality higher education institution.

In 2007, I became responsible for an international Master's programme in materials engineering; in 2010, I also got the opportunity to lead an international leadership exchange programme in collaboration with companies. In 2006, I took part in a project to coach programme heads and faculty on integrating sustainability perspectives in education (ESD – Education for Sustainable Development). From 2009, I also coached researchers in one of Chalmers' new Areas of Advance: Production.

From 2008 to 2010, I was part of the Chalmers committee for pedagogical skills development, and in 2011, I was given a completely new role: educational development leader. The same year, I was appointed vice chairman at the Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development (GMV).

In 2012, I became vice president of education (as well as lifelong learning in 2018). At Chalmers, this means being responsible for programme heads, programmes and courses, student work environment, educational development and education budget. The post also entailed, in collaboration with the line management, responsibility for learning facilities, faculty competence development, IT, internationalisation and student support, etc. During this time, I made good use of the experiences from nine higher education institution evaluations I made for Norwegian, Danish and Icelandic public authorities.


Education and university appointments

Vice-Chancellor of SLU, 15 June 2019

Vice President of Education and Lifelong Learning, Chalmers University of Technology, 2012–2019

Department of Industrial and Materials Science, Chalmers:

  • Professor, 2008–
  • Docent/Associate professor, 1999–2008
  • Assistant professor, 50 per cent research, 1996–1999

Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology:

  • Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Science. Subject Physics – “The Microstructure of Oxide Additive Silicon Nitride Ceramics”, 1996
  • Master of Science and “civilingenjör”, Engineering Physics, 1988

Schillerska upper-secondary school, Gothenburg, natural sciences programme, 1983

Internal assignments at Chalmers (completed):

  • Vice chairman, Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development (GMV)
  • Educational development leader
  • Director of the Materials Engineering Master’s programme
  • Programme director UNITECH, international leadership programme
  • Sustainability coach: the ESD project, Area of Advance Production
  • Member: Programme board (Mechanical engineering, Industrial design engineering), Chalmers faculty board, Chalmers committee for pedagogical skills development
  • Conference organiser (selection): Chalmers postgrad Materials, UNITECH GA, CDIO
  • Inspector, Chalmers Studentkår (student union)

External assignments and commitments (active assignments in cursive):

  • Board member: Universeum Science Centre, Chalmers Professional Education, ProViking forskarskola (SSF), Stiftelsen för Sigrid Rudebecks Gymnasium
  • Member of the reference group for admission and access (UHR)
  • Evaluator of various higher education institutions' quality assurance procedures and education: Norway, Denmark, Iceland, the United States
  • Group for investigating higher education grades (SUHF)
  • Global theme-leader Learning & Assessment, CDIO
  • On expert committee, professorial promotions and employment: KTH, Luleå University, University of Stavanger
  • Doctoral thesis reviewer 3 times (Norway, Sweden), doctoral thesis grading committee 19 times
  • Application assessor: KK-Foundation, Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems
  • Reviewer: JMatSciEng, JALCOM, Minerals Engineering, etc.
  • Invited speaker/keynote speaker:
    - International conferences: Materials Education Symposia Cambridge, SEFI, European Convention of Engineering Deans (ECED), "Materials for Cleaner Technologies"
    - National conferences: UHR, UKÄ, Riksdag committees
    - Internal conferences at higher education institutions (NTNU, Twente, Linköping, Borås)


Chalmers Educational Award, 2009

The Jakob Wallenberg Award; Swedish materials research, 2007

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg scholarship for young female researchers, 1998–99

Chalmers' Materialcentrum Award for the best licentiate thesis, 1991


I have been the main supervisor or examiner for four doctoral students and more than 25 degree projects.

Selected publications

Book chapter(s)

  • K. Edström, D. Soderholm and M. Knutson Wedel "Teaching and Learning", In "Rethinking Engineering Education, the CDIO approach" eds. E. Crawley, J. Malmqvist, D. Brodeur, S. Östlund, (Springer Science, New York, 2007) pp. 130-151


  • H. Adolfsson, U. Dalnäs, L. Gerén, M. Hellström, K. Kjellgren, M. Knutson Wedel, K. Noori and F. Oldsjö "Betyg i högre utbildning", ed. Linda Gerén, ISBN 978-91-979437-9-6, SUHF, 2016

Scientific articles and conference articles relating to engineering education

  • E.M. Knutson-Wedel, L.K.L. Falk, H. Björklund and T. Ekström, "Si3N4 Ceramics Formed by HIP using Different Oxide Additions - Relation between Microstructure and Properties", J. Mater. Sci., 26 (1991) pp. 5575-5584
  • H. Skoglund, M. Knutson-Wedel and B.Karlsson, "Processing of fine-grained mechanically alloyed FeAl", Intermetallics 12 (2004) pp. 977-983
  • K. Ryttberg, M. Knutson Wedel and L. Nyborg, "Electron microscopy of white-etching band generated by high-velocity parting-off of 100CrMn6 steel", Mat Sci Eng A Volume 480, Iss 1-2 (2008) pp. 489-495
  • K. Ryttberg, M. Knutson Wedel, V. Recina, P. Dahlman and L. Nyborg, "The effect of cold ring rolling on the evolution of microstructure and texture in 100Cr6 steel", Mat Sci Eng A Volume 527, Iss 9, 2010, pp 2431-2436
  • M Andersson, M Knutson Wedel, C Forsgren and J. Christéen, "Microwave assisted pyrolysis of residual fractions of waste electrical and electronics equipment" Minerals Eng. 29 2012 pp. 105–111
  • L.K. Berg, J. Gjonnes, V. Hansen, X.Z. Li, M. Knutson-Wedel, G. Waterloo D. Schryvers and L.R. Wallenberg, "GP-zones in Al-Zn-Mg alloys and their role in artificial aging", Acta Mat 49 (2001), pp. 3443-3451
  • M. Knutson Wedel, J. Malmqvist, M. Svanström and M. Arehag, "Implementing engineering education for environmental sustainability into CDIO programs" Proceedings of 4th Annual CDIO Conference, Hogeschool Gent, Gent, Belgium June 16-19 2008 (
  • M. Knutson Wedel, "Activating deep approach to learning in large classes through quizzes", Proceedings of the 7th International CDIO Conference, Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen, June 20 - 23, 2011 (

Also see: Maria Knutson Wedel Google Scholar


Vice-Chancellor at the SLU
Telephone: +4618671060
Postal address:
Rektor, Box 7070
Visiting address: Almas allé 8, Uppsala