Sweden’s best science communicator revealed



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Press release 6 December 2013

Andreas Ohlin, a researcher at Örebro University, has won the Swedish 2013 Researchers’ Grand Prix – the national competition in which contestants must present their research in a very short amount of time.  He was selected as the winner by an expert panel of judges and the audience on 5 December in Stockholm.

Nine researchers from across the country competed against each other at the Debaser Medis rock club. The challenge was to explain their research in the most engaging, inspiring and educational way in just three minutes. Voted the best of all was Andreas Ohlin, head of the neonatal intensive care unit at Örebro University Hospital, who researches young babies and the infections they get.

“It was really nerve-wracking being up on the stage. But winning feels amazing, especially as it raises awareness of research into how the care of premature babies can be improved,” said Andreas Ohlin.

In his presentation, he talked about how simple 15-second disinfection routines can prevent babies from getting infections and increase their chances of a healthy life.

“I want to especially thank all the nurses in Department 35 at the University Hospital Örebro who came on board and adopted the routine around the clock,” said Andreas Ohlin. In addition to applause from the audience, he received a large trophy and a travel voucher.

The audience voted using an audience response system and their votes carried the same weight as those of the expert panel. The judges were actress and comedian Nour El-Refai, Patrik Hadenius, Editor of Swedish magazines Research & Progress, Modern Psychology  and the Language Magazine and Göran Östlin, Professor of Astronomy at Stockholm University.

“The standard of the researchers’ presentations was very high. I would have liked to give all of them the highest points because they were so courageous and had so many interesting things to tell,” said Nour El-Refai.

Göran Östlin and Patrik Hadenius sat on the judging panel last year as well and commented that the competitors were more evenly matched this year.

“It was fun but very difficult to select a winner. Many of them taught us new things,” said Göran Östlin.

The finalists had all won regional heats earlier in the autumn in Gothenburg , Kalmar and Kronoberg County, Karlshamn , Karlstad, Kristianstad , Lund, Malmö, Stockholm and Örebro as part of the Researchers’ Night science festival. An important element of the competition is that all the participants receive coaching.

“I’ve learnt about the usefulness of drama and how it can be used to communicate important messages about my research,” said Andreas Ohlin.

Second place went to Andreas Svensson, from Linnaeus University, who described how parasites affect their animal hosts, and third place was given to Daniel Jönsson, from Malmö University, who conducts research on oral hygiene and dental health. All the other contestants shared a respectable fourth place.

“The competition brought together my two passions: working with science and technology and stand-up comedy.  Given the high standard of the researchers’ presentations, I might have competition in the future when it comes to entertaining people using research,” said Swedish comedian Karin Adelsköld, who compered the evening.

The national final was organised by Vetenskap & Allmänhet (Public & Science) and the research councils Formas, Forte, the Swedish Research Council and VINNOVA.

“Research has tremendous significance for the development of so many areas. It is something that is not always recognised enough. The Researchers’ Grand Prix is ​​a good opportunity for researchers to communicate their findings to the public and raise awareness of the importance of research to society,” said Charlotte Brogren, Director General of VINNOVA, Sweden’s Innovation Agency, who presented the prizes at the final.

The final of the Researchers’ Grand Prix will be broadcast after Christmas on the Swedish Knowledge Channel and then be available on UR Play.

For more information,  www.forskargrandprix.se, or contact:
Andreas Ohlin, the Winner of Researchers’ Grand Prix 2013, +46 73-613 72 00
Klas-Herman Lundgren, Project Manager of the Researchers’ Grand Prix-Final, +46 70-380 78 56

Press pictures from the Researchers’ Grand Prix Final

VA (Public & Science) promotes dialogue and openness between researchers and the public. The organisation works to create new forms of dialogue about research. VA is also developing new knowledge on the relationship between research and society through surveys and studies. Its members consist of 80 organisations, authorities, companies and associations. In addition, it has a number of individual members. For more information visit www.v-a.se/in-english/

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