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Research Council honours three talented researchers

The Research Council of Norway’s three Awards for Young Outstanding Researchers have been awarded this year to cancer researcher Kyrre Eeg Emblem, nanotechnologist Øivind Wilhelmsen and linguist Terje Lohndal. The winners each receive a cash prize of NOK 500 000.

The awards will be presented on 1 March.

Cancer research with vast potential

(Photo: OUS) Kyrre Eeg Emblem’s research directly benefits cancer patients. Using MRI technology, it is possible to determine beforehand how different cancer treatments will work on human patients. The goal is to generate insight into how a treatment affects the disease panorama and consequently predict which patients will respond to that specific cancer treatment.

Dr Emblem, 37, is a trained biophysicist. He is a research group leader at the Department of Diagnostic Physics at Oslo University Hospital's (OUS) Division of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine. In its statement, the jury highlighted his ability to work across research groups:

“Dr Emblem has an interdisciplinary background that he uses in an innovative, multidisciplinary approach to medical problems. He is highly recognised internationally and works together actively with world-leading groups in his field,” the jury writes.

Dr Emblem has received the Award for Young Outstanding Researchers in the category Medicine, health sciences and biology.

What lies on the surface

(Photo: NTNU) “Øivind Wilhelmsen’s research has led to new, original ideas and contributed to an advanced, deeper understanding of the formation of bubbles/droplets at the nano-scale. His research has great potential for applications within materials technology and biological systems,” the jury writes.

Øivind Wilhelmsen, 32, is a research scientist at SINTEF Energy Research and Professor II at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). He has received the Award for Young Outstanding Researchers in the category of Mathematics, natural science and technology for his groundbreaking contributions to research in thermodynamics and hydrogen technology.

Dr Wilhelmsen’s research focuses particularly on what takes place on the outermost surface of objects, and how insight into surface properties can be applied in current and future technologies.

Øivind Wilhelmsen has headed several large research projects and built up his own research group at NTNU. He is also very committed to active popular science and scholarly dissemination, and his research has received considerable attention in the national and international media.

Searching for linguistic building blocks 

(Photo: NTNU) Terje Lohndal is searching for the building blocks of language and trying to find out whether there are particular mechanisms that control our capacity for language. Dr Lohndal, 32, is Professor of English linguistics at NTNU and Professor II at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. He was appointed professor at the young age of 27. He is receiving the Award for Young Outstanding Researchers in the category, Humanities and social sciences.

“Terje Lohndal’s work has had wide-ranging implications for how we view language structure. He has expanded the frontiers of current knowledge and presented new perspectives in theoretical linguistics. Dr Lohndal is now considered one of the world’s leading researchers in phrase structure theory,” the jury writes in its statement.

Terje Lohndal is an extremely productive researcher. He has already authored five books, published 25 articles and 17 chapters in scientific journals and books, and achieved a high citation rate.

Dr Lohndal is often sought out by the international linguistics community and has been a guest lecturer in a number of countries. He is a member of the Language Council of Norway’s expert committee for language policy follow-up. He also served on the government commission that produced an Official Norwegian Report on students with higher potential for learning.

“We need more young research heroes”

“These prizes honour three researchers who have already achieved impressive careers at a young age. It is important to reward the enormous effort young researchers invest in their work. We need more young research heroes. We hope that this year’s recipients will be a source of inspiration for other young researchers and for young people considering a career in research,” says John-Arne Røttingen, Chief Executive of the Research Council.


Facts about the Award for Young Outstanding Researchers

  • For the first time, the Research Council has awarded three Awards for Young Outstanding Researchers in one and the same year. In 2016, the Research Council awarded one award, to physicist Anne-Cecilie Larsen from the University of Oslo.
  • These awards are intended to reward high scientific merit, independence and innovative thinking at an early stage in the researcher’s career and are designed to motivate young researchers to expand their efforts.
  • The awards are open to young researchers in any subject or discipline, including interdisciplinary research.
  • One Award for Young Outstanding Researchers is awarded in each of the following categories: Humanities and social sciences; Medicine, health sciences and biology; Mathematics, natural science and technology.
  • The awards are given out each year. Each award comprises a cash prize of NOK 500 000.
  • The awardees must not be older than 38 at the time of their nomination.




Written by:
Christian Lund. Translation: Glenn Wells/Carol B. Eckmann.
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