The Research Council’s annual Evening of Excellence at the Oslo Concert Hall on 23 September was the setting for presenting the awards.
Outstanding cancer research
Prize-winner Harald Stenmark is one of Norway’s most preeminent cancer researchers. He is a professor at the University of Oslo Faculty of Medicine and a part-time professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Faculty of Medicine. In addition, he heads the Centre for Cancer Biomedicine, a Norwegian Centre of Excellence hosted by the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital.
Professor Stenmark has made important discoveries related to the regulation of cell growth and cell division, mechanisms for uptake and transport of proteins in cells, and how these processes involve cell signalling processes. The prizewinner has also contributed substantially to scientists’ understanding of cellular breakdown.
For many years, Harald Stenmark has been a leading international researcher in these highly competitive areas. He is a team-builder who has established fruitful, high-calibre research collaboration at the local, national and international level. The jury also emphasised the professor’s leadership qualities and his ability to foster young researcher talents and support their career development.
The Research Council’s annual Award for Outstanding Research, also known as the Møbius Prize, encompasses a cash prize of NOK 1 million.
Systematic approach to research and innovation
In giving the Innovation Award to Borregaard, the Research Council recognises a company that has succeeded in adapting to new market demands through systematic, long-term research, development and innovation. Borregaard demonstrates competitive strength in a sustainable manner.
The Norwegian industrial conglomerate has a rich history. Originally known for its pulp and paper products, Borregaard now has nearly 1 100 employees in 16 countries and produces advanced, environment-friendly biochemicals and biomaterials from natural, renewable raw materials.
Borregaard’s research and development activities are highly market-driven. The company invests roughly five per cent of its revenues in R&D and innovation. Currently some 12 per cent of turnover is from new products the company did not have just five years ago. In its statement, the jury highlights Borregaard’s ability to integrate innovation into its corporate culture, with marketing and production units also deeply involved in its innovation processes.
The jury stated that Borregaard serves as a strong role model and an inspiration in an era calling for adaptability. It is a key player with further potential in the bioeconomy segment. The company collaborates with a number of research institutions in Norway and abroad, and has leaders and researchers with visible, active roles in Norway’s research and innovation landscape.
The Research Council’s Innovation Award carries a cash prize of NOK 500 000, which will go towards the company’s innovation activities.
An important, credible voice
The Research Council’s Award for Excellence in Communication of Science for 2015 went to lawyer and researcher Anine Kierulf of the University of Oslo’s Norwegian Centre for Human Rights for her ability to explain complex problems simply, clearly and concisely. She has been a vital and forthright participant in the public debate on issues involving human rights and freedom of expression.
“This year’s winner of the Research Council’s Award for Excellence in Communication of Science is courageous and succinct,” reads the jury’s statement. “The prizewinner maintains high academic standards while demonstrating the ability to communicate far beyond the confines of her field. With her involvement in social issues, the winner reaches out to many target groups.”
The recipient of the Research Council’s Award for Excellence in Communication of Science receives a cash prize of NOK 250 000.
The three winners accepted their awards at the Research Council’s annual Evening of Excellence on 23 September.