Ten EliteForsk prizes to Aarhus University

Press releases 2009

At the EliteForsk conference on 29 January, Denmark’s Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Helge Sander, along with HRH Crown Princess Mary, awarded a number of EliteForsk prizes in three different categories. Ten of the prizes went to researchers and PhD students at Aarhus University. The EliteForsk prizes are awarded each year to outstanding young researchers under 45 years of age who are in an international class of their own and contribute in an exceptional way to strengthening Danish research.

The prizes were presented at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, and the Aarhus University management is naturally very pleased.

“It’s really good that Aarhus University has once more done so well in this competition. Not only was the physicist Bjørk Hammer honoured with the fine EliteForsk prize for his great efforts in nano research at Aarhus University, but this also gave our younger scientists significant and well-deserved recognition,” says Pro-rector Nina Smith.

Associate Professor Bjørk Hammer works at both Aarhus University’s Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and is extremely pleased with the prize and the adulation. The prize money amounts to DKK 1.1 million (approximately EUR 148,000), of which his personal share is DKK 200,000 (approximately EUR 27,000). According to the nanoscientist, these research funds will be used for an initiative that, on a day-to-day basis, involves modelling the physical and chemical surface properties of materials. It is a matter of basic research, so the results are mainly used for building up greater understanding within the field of research where Associate Professor Hammer is one of the leading theorists in the world.

“This prize makes it possible to focus even harder. I figure I’ll hire a postdoc who’ll study such things as whether graphics cards in computers can be developed to get even better at doing quantum mechanical calculations. This is a project where we’ll collaborate with institutions such as the Alexandra Institute,” he says.

The personal prize will be used for activities such as a round trip in China – including an observation of the solar eclipse in July.

A total of 45 skilled researchers from all over Denmark were rewarded with DKK 12 million (approximately EUR 1.6 million) divided into a number of different prizes.

In addition to the major prize awarded to Associate Professor Hammer, nine other prizes went to Aarhus University:

EliteForsk travelling scholarships
valued at DKK 250,000 (approximately EUR 33,500) for very talented young researchers were awarded to:
PhD student Ebbe Briggs Bødtkjer (25), MD
PhD student Kasper Jahn (25), BSc in Nanotechnology
PhD student Anne Ersbak Bang Nielsen (26), MSc in Physics

Danish Councils for Independent Research (DCIR) Young Elite Researcher Prizes
valued at DKK 200,000 (approximately EUR 27,000) for the most talented young researchers were awarded to scientists including:
Postdoctoral scholar Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (32), PhD
Associate Professor Peter Teglberg Madsen (33), PhD
Postdoctoral scholar Claus Olesen (34), PhD, MSc
Postdoctoral scholar Majken Pagter (31), PhD
Postdoctoral scholar Anne-Marie Lund Winther (29), PhD

Associate Professor Ludvig Paul Muren (35) PhD

The EliteForsk prizes are awarded once a year to reward and highlight the efforts made by some of Denmark’s most brilliant researchers.

Read more (in Danish only) at: www.eliteforsk.dk

30 January 2009

Rasmus Stensgaard
Communication Office