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Weekly Intel: A little more action for sociologists / Minister: Unis need to step up

The latest weekly news rundown for academics at university in Copenhagen.

Sociology students to help govt. analyse shoppers

No more laid back abstract discussions of sociological method in dusty classrooms. The Department of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) has started a new cooperation with the Danish Ministry for Energy, Utilities and Climate and a small NGO on a specific, hands-on research project.

The students are to investigate what it is that informs consumers’ choices in supermarkets [article in Danish], and what it takes to change habits so that purchases are more climate-friendly.

»I’m very excited about the fact that we have managed to get this cooperation going. This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, and something I think will enhance students’ job opportunities when they tell employers what they can contribute with as sociologists,« says Professor Claire Maxwell, who teaches the methodology course Applied Case Study Analysis at the Department of Sociology.

The course is compulsory on the 6th semester of the bachelor programme.  45 students are to take part in the Ministry’s project.

’Chromosome scanner’ against cancer

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have identified one of the main mechanisms behind the repair of damage to human DNA.

A ‘scanner’ inside cells decides whether or not to launch so-called flawless DNA repair, which protects against cancer.

The study has been published in the scientific journal Nature Cell Biology.

»We have discovered how the cell launches the flawless system for serious DNA damage repair and thus protects against cancer. This is done using a protein you could call a ‘scanner’, which scans the histones in the cell and on that basis launches the repair process,« says the researcher behind the study, Professor Anja Groth from the Biotech Research & Innovation Centre.

This year’s elite research prizes

Crown Princess Mary and Minister for Education and Science Tommy Ahlers just awarded the elite researcher EliteForsk prizes to five of Denmark’s younger researchers.

So here is the British news site Daily Mail’s pictures of the 47 year-old Crown Princess Mary’s stylish entrance by boat to the awards ceremony wearing Dolce & Gabbana.

For the more financially interested, the five researchers will each receive DKK 1.2 million. Of this amount, DKK 1m is for their research activities while the remaining DKK 200,000 is a personal honorary award.

And for the university buffs, this year’s recipients come from the Technical University of Denmark DTU, Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen:

Professor in physics Kristian Sommer Thygesen, Department of Physics, DTU.
Professor of biology Peter Teglberg Madsen, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University.
Professor of political science Rebecca Adler-Nissen, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen.
Professor of molecular biology Chunaram Choudhary, Centre for Protein Research, University of Copenhagen
Clinical professor of medicine, Niels Jessen, Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University.

»Today we celebrate the best. The very best within their field of research,« said Tommy Ahlers.

Universities need to pull their socks up

“Public investment in research is DKK 23 billion, which is the highest level in the world … But we do not get sufficient results from these investments.”

Minister for Higher Education and Science Tommy Ahlers on a tour of universities

Universities in Denmark are to create 10 business start-up companies, each with a turnover of DKK 1 billion, over the next decade. This is the requirement set by Minister of Higher Education and Science Tommy Ahlers as he tours Danish universities.

»It is my vision that Denmark also shall become an entrepreneur in transferring research into innovation and businesses,« Ahlers told students at the Copenhagen Business School in late January, later publishing his vision in the newspaper Børsen and via a press statement from the ministry.

»Public investment in research is DKK 23 billion, which is the highest level in the world, and when including private investments in research we are number five or six,« he said. »But we do not get sufficient results from these investments.«

74 PhD scholarships in EU-funded Science programme

August Krogh InstituteThe second call for applications for 35 PhD positions is now open under the Faculty of Science’s EU funded TALENT programme at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH). Deadline is 1st April 2019 for the programme, which is financing a total of 74 PhDs.

You can read more about the programme here.

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