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What is Human Factors?

Human factors, or ergonomics, is the scientific discipline that investigates and produces knowledge concerning human physical, cognitive and psychological prerequisites in relation to the character of the task, technical requirements with respect to design and complexity, and organizational premises regarding resource allocation, organizational culture, methods, competence, and leadership as well as following up and evaluating systems.

The human factors discipline is also concerned with the utilization of knowledge about human capabilities and needs in design, implementation, deployment, operation and maintenance of products, systems (of humans, machines, and organizations) in order to optimize system functionality as well as human wellbeing, health and safety.

Areas of human factors applications:

  • transportation area (aviation, ship industry and maritime safety, automotive industry and traffic environments, rail traffic)
  • medicine and medical technology
  • information technology
  • process industry
  • manufacturing industry
  • design of complex systems
  • maintenance

The aim of HFN is to gather research and education efforts of Human Factors in Sweden, to offer support to the members of the organization and to make them, as well as Swedish research in this area, competitive in an international perspective.

The history of HFN

HFN was founded in 1996 to create a network of national competence and stakeholders within the area of aviation-related Human-System Interaction, having an increasingly dynamic and global aviation sector in mind, with a more sophisticated technology and organizational complexity. At that time the network was called the Swedish Centre for Human Factors in Aviation. In 2003 a decision was made to expand the network activities to include any organization with competence or need of knowledge within the field of Human Factors. The network was renamed HFN, that is Human Factors Network in Sweden.

The basic idea of HFN

HFN strives for an open and active network that can contribute to improved system safety, system effectiveness and improved operator environments. This is achieved by collecting, producing, and distributing relevant Human Factors knowledge within the HFN network, thereby taking advantage of existing resources among its members.

The vision is to develop and maintain a leading position for the members of HFN, both as regards the competitiveness of industry and academic research results in Human Factors.

HFN today

At present, about twenty academic, public and private organizations are members of the network. The service unit of administration and management is located at Linköping University, but the function of the network depends on the commitment of the member organizations.

The HFN member collegium

The members of the the HFN network constitute the member collegium. The member collegium elects the board and the scientific leader, and decides on matters presented by the board. The collegium meets at least two times a year. Each member organization has one vote.

The HFN board

The HFN board consists of eight members, including the chairman. The constitution of the board should reflect the different areas of the member organizations. The tasks of the board is to make decisions on economic matters, to manage HFN in accordance with the decisions made by the member collegium and to operate HFN activities.

The service unit and network support

The purpose of the management and administration service unit is to meet the needs of coordination and service of the network. Some of the tasks for the service unit are: distributing research results and conference papers from HFN activities, keeping members updated about planned activities of interest, and spreading information and news about HFN and its activities.