This year's research awards

This year’s winners of the Olav Thon Foundation 2021

For the seventh consecutive year, the Olav Thon Foundation announce awards for research and teaching internationally and nationally, as well as financial support for Nordic research in medicine and national student active research 2021.

Foto av Olav Thon.
Olav Thon under last year ceremony. Photo: Gry Traaen

The Olav Thon Foundation’s International Research Award 2021 goes to:

Director and Professor, Dr. Eske Willerslev, Centre for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and Prince Philip Chair (professor) at Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK.

Willerslev receives the prize for his outstanding, broad and original research in the field of human evolution. His research has had a major influence in other fields such as medicine, archaeology and ecology.

Eske Willerslev effectively and efficiently oversees 11 independent research groups at the intersection of genetics, medicine, geology, and archaeology. The research focuses on characterizing the evolutionary paths and processes that lead to the genetic architecture of brain disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), among others.

The award amounts to NOK 5 million.

Grant to Nordic research collaboration in the field of medicine.

Research support is granted to the following two projects:

1. New local treatment of osteoporotic hip fractures A Regenerative MedicineApproach to Improve Implant Anchorage in Fragile Bone and ReduceReoperations.

Project managers: Professor Lars Lidgren, Lund University, Sweden and Professor Ming Ding, University of Southern Denmark. Project staff: Professor Magnus Tägil and PhD MD Deepak Raina, Lund University, Sweden

Odense, Denmark. The goal of this project is to reduce incidence of re-operation following surgical implants to treat hip fracture in the elderly. This is a large collaborative, interdisciplinary team (Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Group) who have developed new and innovative strategies to prevent implant failure at the fixation site, which is associated with morbidity and mortality.

The project spans a period of 4 years and receives a total of NOK 10,000,000.

2. Decoding motor neuron vulnerability and connectivity in ALS (Amyotrophiclateral sclerosis)

Project managers: Associate Professor/Head of Group Ioanna Sandvig, Associate Professor/Head of Group Axel Sandvig, NTNU, Norway, Ass. Professor/Docent Eva Hedlund, Stockholm University, Sweden and partner Dr Rajeevkumar Nair Raveendran, Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, NTNU.

This is an interesting application with focus on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The research team is well established in the field and with an excellent track record from previous studies. The point is that ‘fast-firing’ motor neurons are more susceptible to degeneration than ‘slow’ motoneurons, and the latter do sprout to compensate for fast fiber loss.

The project spans a period of 4 years and receives a total of NOK 10,000,000

National Awards for Excellence in Teaching at the University Level.

The national award for excellence in teaching is given to the following:

1. Associate Professor, Ms. Sigrunn Eliassen, Department of Biological Sciences,University of Bergen.

Sigrunn Eliassen (born 1972) was hired as an associate professor at BIO in 2016, and has already become a leader who has an impressive scientific production and 3 project manager experience behind her, despite her young age, academically speaking. Her research on the evolution of collaboration has been described as groundbreaking across two pages in Nature.

3. Associate Professor, Ms. Anne Kveim Lie, Institute of Health and Society,University of Oslo.

Anne Kveim Lie (born 1969) receives the award for her efforts where, in cooperation with students and colleagues, she has lifted the teaching subject of social medicine from being a subject that students disliked to being a popular subject that engages many of them. This happened even before the Corona virus pandemic demonstrated to the whole world that social medicine is a subject of high medical relevance. introduction to methodologies etc. in the study of the natural world.

3. Associate Professor, Mr. Tobias Slørdahl, Department of Clinical andMolecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology – NTNU.

Tobias Slørdahl (born 1982) receives the award for outstanding teaching based on the following three reasons: a) Slørdahl has been the initiator and strong driving force for a revision of exam content and exam forms in the medical studies at NTNU. b) He has an ongoing and extensive research activity in medical education research, where he also includes students as co-researchers. c) Slørdahl is a highly esteemed lecturer and mediator of knowledge to students, colleagues and patients alike.

Each of the above receives an award of NOK 500,000.

The Olav Thon Foundation

The Olav Thon Foundation was established in December 2013 by Olav Thon. The objectives of the foundation are to exercise stable and long-term ownership of Olav Thon Gruppen AS and its subsidiaries in accordance with the key guidelines established by Olav Thon for his businesses, and to distribute funds to charitable causes.