Professor Oluf Borbye Pedersen Receives the Research Communication Award 2018 – University of Copenhagen

23 April 2018

Professor Oluf Borbye Pedersen Receives the Research Communication Award 2018

AWARD Professor Oluf Borbye Pedersen receives this year’s Research Communication Award for his enthusiasm in communicating his exploration of our countless health-promoting intestinal bacteria. The award was presented 20 April by Minister of Higher Education and Science Søren Pind at a debate event also attended by Oluf Borbye Pedersen.

Each year, the Ministry of Higher Education and Sxcience confers the Research Communication Award on a researcher who has made an exceptional effort to reach a wide audience with his or her research. This year the award goes to Professor Oluf Borbye Pedersen from the Novo Nordic Foundation Center for Metabolic Research, who through his dissemination has managed to communicate his knowledge of an otherwise complex field of research to the general public.

‘Behind the thousands of hours spent in the laboratory lie important stories that can thrill us, teach us something, give us new insight. It is important that new knowledge reaches all of us. Oluf Borbye Pedersen is a first-class example of a researcher, who makes an active effort to communicate his research results to the public. Today we are celebrating his efforts’, says Minister of Higher Education and Science Søren Pind. 

Engaging and Vivid Communication About Intestinal Bacteria
Adults have around 50,000,000,000,000 bacteria in their intestines. Until eight years ago researchers did not know what they are and what they do, as the majority of these bacteria cannot be cultivated in a petri dish. But Oluf Borbye Pedersen and a series of his colleagues at home and abroad began to use DNA-based techniques and have now shown that intestinal bacteria constitute an organ in themselves – an organ that greatly affects our health and risk of developing a series of diseases.

It is a complex field of research, which Oluf Borbye Pedersen through his engaging research dissemination has managed to communicate to the general public. He does so through interviews published in national newspapers, radio, TV, talk shows, lectures, features, books and museum exhibits. His knowledge sharing is based on the more than 800 scientific articles he has produced.

‘I am very grateful and happy to receive this recognition. Actually, I believe communication of scientific insight to the man in the street should be a natural part of the work of any researcher. But it is not always easy to move out of one’s professional “comfort zone” and use a non-scientific and perhaps simplified language to admit the listener/reader to an enchanting, but highly complex scientific universe. Researchers must want and have the will to readjust and take an inclusive approach. It must be a bit like asking a classical Rachmaninov virtuoso play and sing the popular and catchy lyrics mastered by Rasmus Seebach’, says Oluf Borbye Pedersen.

Award Presented at Debate Event on the Role of Science in the Media
The award will be presented at a debate event on how we can incorporate more scientific facts into the news media and, in so doing, qualify the public debate. The debate will be attended by Minister of Higher Education and Science Søren Pind, Chief Editor of Weekendavisen Martin Krasnik, Professor Maja Horst, Editor in Chief of BT/MetroXpress Michael Dyrby and Professor Oluf Borbye Pedersen.

About the Research Communication Award
The Research Communication Award is awarded every year to a researcher who, through relevant dissemination, is able to attract a broad level of attention to his or her research. The Minister of Higher Education and Science presents the award during the Danish Science Festival based on a recommendation from the Danish Council for Independent Research. Focus is especially on the candidates’ ability to engage the public outside of the scientific community while also maintaining a high professional level in both research and communication. The winner of the award also receives DKK 100,000.