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Research prizes from the Carlsberg Foundation to researchers from University of Copenhagen

The Carlsberg Foundations Research Prizes 2012 goes to Professor in molecular biology Kristian Helin and Professor in international politics Ole Wver. Each researcher receives 1 million DKK where should be spend on further research.

"The two prizes are given with a large degree of freedom for use. Both prize winners are internationally leading scientists in their field and the prizes are awarded with full confidence of that they will promote new scientific breakthroughs," says the chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation's board Flemming Besenbacher and continues:

"It is the type of research that the two prize winners represents that are crucial for future growth in Denmark."

Breakthrough in cancer research

Professor Kristian Helin from BRIC receives the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize in natural sciences for his outstanding basic research in the mechanisms controlling cell division and differentiation.

"The focus of my research is on how specific mechanisms can control our gene activity, and so to speak turn genes on or off at specific time points during development and differentiation. The Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize is a great acknowledgement of my work and of basic science in general," says Kristian Helin.

Kristian Helin's research has further contributed with important knowledge of what goes wrong in the cells when cancer occurs. This can lead to breakthroughs in cancer treatment through development of new therapeutics. In addition to his scientific work, Kristian Helin is the founding director of BRIC and has since 2003 been responsible for building up BRIC to an international elite research centre with 250 employees.

Conflict and new rules of the game

Professor, PhD Ole Wver is awarded the prize for his long-standing work - in Denmark and abroad - with theories on international politics, security theory, religious conflicts and high politics of climate.

"Topics such as war and peace, climate chaos and religious conflicts do not lack attention. But exactly because they are 'hot issues' in the double sense i.e. both as individual topics and as research topics - there is a distinct risk that the research degenerates into topical comments. Within what is internationally known as the "Copenhagen School", we have within basic research developed some theoretical tools to understand the processes by which subjects are angled in a particular security political manner - as existential threats which allow the use of all means necessary. The understanding that we gain may contribute significantly to the gradual reduction of international conflicts - and to society's ability to deal effectively with major challenges such as climate and energy," says Ole Wver.

25 years ago, Ole Wver devised the concept of securitization. Thus, an entire field of research was turned upside down, and it created a new research agenda. The research began to explore how issues such as climate and religion were tackled as security threats.

Security policy became a productive field of research. All around the world, dissertations and studies that use the theory to study local cases have been completed. At the same time, the somewhat provocative perspective triggered a lot of criticism and debate, which in itself became productive and triggered some of the field's top general clarifications of "big questions" in leading journals.


Contact: Katrine Sonne-Hansen
(45) 25-85-47-42
University of Copenhagen

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