2012 Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science winners announced

Staffan Normark, Anders Hagfeldt and Jens Nielsen were today announced as the winners of the 2012 Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science (Nordic countries). The three scientists, all based in Sweden, were honored today for their outstanding efforts to mentor young researchers, during a seminar at the Nobel Forum, Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm, Sweden.

The prizes were presented by Dr Philip Campbell, Editor-in-Chief of Nature, and Professor Hans Wigzell, chair of judges for the 2012 Awards, and former President of Karolinska Institutet.

Staffan Normark received the lifetime achievement award for his “capacity to take care of and bring forward not only early research students, but also post-doctoral scientists to do pioneering research in new fields,” said Wigzell. Professor Normark is Professor of Infectious Disease Control at the medical university Karolinska Institutet and Permanent Secretary of The Royal Swedish Academy of Science, an independent and non-governmental scientific society responsible for selecting the Nobel Laureates in Physics and Chemistry. Professor Normark was presented with a €10,000 prize as part of his award. “Staffan Normark comes forward as a true visionary,” continued Wigzell. “His students claim they have never heard him complain of problems, but talk only of possibilities.”

Anders Hagfeldt and Jens Nielsen were declared joint winners of the mid-career award and share the €10,000 prize.

Anders Hagfeldt is a Professor in Physical Chemistry and the Dean of Chemistry at Uppsala University. Hagfeldt’s citation record led Times Higher Education to rank him in the top 50 material scientists of the past decade. He also co-ordinated the 2011 International Year of Chemistry in Uppsala. “A most important attribute is the trust Anders Hagfeldt places in his students and researchers,” said Wigzell. “He has been able to create vibrant teams, linked together by sharing laboratory techniques and heated scientific discussions in the coffee room.”

Professor Jens Nielsen heads the Systems and Synthetic Biology group at the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg. He has supervised 50 PhD students and co-supervised more than 20 others. Nielsen has also been actively involved in the design of new undergraduate and Masters teaching programs. “Jens Nielsen is an extremely supportive, innovative and solution oriented mentor,” said Wigzell. “Many research projects provided to students have been of the high risk-high reward type, requiring collaboration over several competence fields and allowing the students/scientists to rapidly enhance their national and international networks.”

“I congratulate Professors Normark, Hagfeldt and Nielsen on their awards,” said Campbell. “These scientists have an unusual ability to be on top of their own demanding research while stimulating high standards of scientific creativity in those around them. Nature is delighted to celebrate such an important contribution to science, and to the inspiration and guidance of the lab heads and professors of the future.”

Launched in 2005, the annual Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science recognize outstanding scientific mentorship and focus on a specific country or countries each year, and 2012 focused on the Nordic countries.

More information about the Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science is available atwww.nature.com/nature/awards/mentorship/. Details of the seminar at the Nobel Forum are available here.