Research Council festivities:
Celebrating research and researchers
The Research Council's Evening of Excellence - the annual event to celebrate research and those who carry it out - was held on 14 October. With topics ranging from evolution to innovation and astronomy, this year's event assembled some 1,200 researchers, research administrators, and representatives of the Government and ministries for an evening filled with communication of knowledge as well as entertainment.
The Oslo Concert Hall was the venue for the event, which also featured the presentation of two Research Council awards and the award for Norway’s Most Innovative Company of the Year for 2009.
2009: Year of Astronomy and Darwin anniversary
To mark the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA), solar researcher Pål Brekke, formerly a key scientist in the SOHO project and now with the Norwegian Space Centre, took the audience on a fantastic visual journey through outer space. The 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s revolutionary telescope was also given its proper due
Another occasion for celebration is the 150th anniversary of the publishing of Charles Darwin’s On the origin of species. Professor Nils Christian Stenseth, who chairs the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) at the University of Oslo, rendered an inspiring narrative about Darwin’s work and its significance, and about other revolutionary contributions that have shaped our understanding of the origins and evolution of life.
Professor Gro Amdam, of the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Ås, Norway, is using research on bees to unravel certain puzzles of human health. She captivated the evening’s audience with her fascinating description of the life of bees – and their similarities to the human race.
Industrialist with an eye for research
Research must be applied – and copied – for the good of society, asserted Nils Ulltveit-Moe, one of Norway’s major industrialists. He is currently directing his focus toward the climate issue and environmental technology, with the dual aims of contributing to solutions for global climate challenges and, naturally, earning a profit while doing so.
Mr Ulltveit-Moe stressed that “knowledge and interesting research is bursting through the seams of Norwegian universities and institutes. We need to convert this into activities that provide societal benefit as well as financial gain.”
Awards to researchers, communicators, innovators
The Research Council’s annual Award for Outstanding Research (Møbius Prize) and the Award for Excellence in Communication of Science were presented during the evening ceremony.
The Award for Outstanding Research went to Nils Petter Gleditsch of the International Peace Research Institute (PRIO), while palaeontologist Jørn Hurum of the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo was honoured for his creative, engaging dissemination of research findings.
The evening’s final accolade was the naming of Norway’s Most Innovative Company of the Year for 2009. Over 1,000 Norwegian business leaders voted overwhelmingly to crown the biotechnology firm DiaGenic ASA the winner from six finalist nominees. DiaGenic developed a diagnostics method that requires no more than a blood sample to diagnose breast cancer, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Blood sample testing for breast cancer and Alzheimer’s is now on the market.
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