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Research Council awards honour outstanding research, key innovation and excellence in communication

Climate researchers Rolf Ims and Nigel Gilles Yoccoz were awarded the Award for Outstanding Research. Physicist Ann-Cecilie Larsen received the Council’s newly established Award for Young Outstanding Researchers and consumer researcher Ingun Grimstad Klepp was presented with the Award for Excellence in Communication of Science. This year’s Innovation Award went to the company Dynatec AS for its revolutionary method for producing silicon.

View video presentations of the award recipients (in Norwegian):

Research on climate change leads to award for researchers from Tromsø

Nigel Gilles Yoccoz and Rolf Ims of the Department of Arctic and Marine Biology at UiT The Arctic University of Norway won the Award for Outstanding Research for their work on how winter climate change affects animal and plant life in the north. Dr Ims and Dr Yoccoz are among Norway’s most frequently cited researchers. Their articles have been published in leading international journals such as Nature, Science and Progress in Natural Science, and they have produced 250 scientific publications in all. Their efforts have led to the recent introduction of a climate-ecological observatory in Finnmark and a monitoring system on Svalbard, where the two scientists will head activities to learn more about how climate change affects biodiversity in the Arctic and the subsequent impacts of this on the inhabitants of the region.

Nigel Gilles Yoccoz and Rolf Ims of the Department of Arctic and Marine Biology at UiT The Arctic University of Norway won the Award for Outstanding Research for their work on how winter climate change affects animal and plant life in the north. (Photo: UiT)

According to the jury, Dr Ims and Dr Yoccoz have combined empirical and theoretical approaches to generate international pioneering knowledge about fundamental ecological mechanisms and processes.

The award is accompanied by an NOK 1 million cash prize for further research activity.

Innovation Award to Dynatec for breakthrough silicon production method

Originally Dynatec AS supplied machinery, ovens and other equipment to the baking industry. With the help of research and innovation the company has expanded its business area and developed a new, more efficient means of producing silicon for use in solar cells.

Eva S. Dugstad og Josef Filtvedt represent Dynatec AS, the company that receives the Research Council's Innovation Award. (Photo: Rune Holter/Dynatec)

“Dynatec is a prime example of what companies can achieve when they are ambitious and think creatively. We need more companies that use research and development actively to help them find new business areas,” says Anne Kjersti Fahlvik, Executive Director of the Division for Innovation of the Research Council.

It was in the course of a collaborative project with Elkem, the world-leading producer of metals and materials, that creative minds at Dynatec eyed the potential for further developing the production of solar cells. Together with the Institute for Energy Technology, they have developed a revolutionary new concept for mass producing high-quality silicon for the solar cell industry.

Dynatec has developed a reactor that uses centrifugal force to extract silicon from silane gas. The silicon attaches to the furnace walls while hydrogen separates and rises. The innovation greatly reduces energy and gas consumption. The Dynatec centrifuge reactor has the potential to become a market leader for its energy efficiency, price and quality and represents an entirely new market for the Dynatec corporation.

Dynatec will receive NOK 500 000 earmarked for innovation activities. 

Young, outstanding researcher examining nuclear reaction rates

Physicist Ann-Cecilie Larsen was named winner of the Award for Young Outstanding Researchers for her research on nuclear reaction rates. In its statement, the jury pointed out that her research is important to the understanding of astrophysical processes such as supernova explosions or collisions between two neutron stars. It also provides insight into how elements such as zinc, tin, gold, uranium and thorium are created.

Physicist Ann-Cecilie Larsen was named winner of the Award for Young Outstanding Researchers for her research on nuclear reaction rates. (Photo: Magne Guttormsen, Universitetet i Oslo)

Dr Larsen has already published 87 articles, seven of which appeared in the highly prestigious journal Physical Review Letters. She has built up an international network of outstanding researchers in which she herself plays a key role. She has been a guest researcher at, among others, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Michigan State University, both of which are among the world’s leaders in nuclear physics.

In 2014, Dr Larsen was awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant for a project to conduct further research on the creation of elements in supernovae.

Ann-Cecilie Larsen works at the Department of Physics at the University of Oslo. The Award for Young Outstanding Researchers is accompanied by a cash prize of NOK 500 000 for continued research.

Ethnologist and consumer researcher wins prize for dedication to communication

Ethnologist Ingun Grimstad Klepp of Consumption Research Norway at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences received the Award for Excellence in Communication of Science for her widespread activity to disseminate knowledge in the areas of outdoor recreation, clothing and housework, the environment and clothing habits. 

Ethnologist Ingun Grimstad Klepp of Consumption Research Norway at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences received the Award for Excellence in Communication of Science for her widespread activity to disseminate knowledge in the areas of outdoor recreation, clothing and housework, the environment and clothing habits. (Photo: Andreas B. Johansen) Dr Grimstad Klepp plays an active role in the political debate on consumption growth and its environmental impact. She combines perspectives from natural, cultural and social science in lectures, books and exhibitions and is a popular guest on a variety of television programmes. Her interest in textiles and wool has led to the development of new products and companies.

The award is accompanied by a cash prize of NOK 500 000 earmarked for communication activities.

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