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Published: 2023-05-29 Updated: 2023-05-31, 11:10

Important award to one of Scandinavia’s most prominent plant science researchers

NEWS Stefan Jansson is awarded the 2023 Bo and Barbro Hammarström Award at Umeå University for his prominent efforts to promote academic research and development in chemistry, and cell and molecular biology.

Text: Maja Wik

Stefan Jansson is professor of plant cell and molecular biology and is one of Scandinavia’s foremost plant researchers and – on top of that – one of Umeå University’s most meritorious and cited researchers. He is even member of three Swedish national royal academies. He has also shouldered a vast administrative responsibility at the University spending a lot of his time on leading research projects and by taking over other academic responsibilities.

Positive feedback is always inspiring, and inspiration is a truly important asset in research.

How do you feel about receiving this award?

“It feels great, of course. I had just bought a bottle of Cava when I received the surprising news – so that came in handy. Excitingly, what is being rewarded are ‘prominent efforts for the promotion of academic research and development’. Most awards celebrate academic excellence. Excellence is a necessity, but excellence doesn’t always go hand in hand with activities that don’t necessarily favour the acquisition of your own personal research qualifications. If this award encourages researchers to put the team before the self, it also fulfils a higher purpose,” says Stefan Jansson.

He involved all from school groups to senior citizens in popular science activities

In the award motivation, Stefan Jansson is selected as this year’s award recipient thanks to his outstanding ability to reach out with popular science. Not least his project “Höstförsöket”, that describes photosynthesis and what happens to leaves in autumn, has involved over 11,000 school pupils and has been covered on both national TV, radio and in newspapers. Stefan Jansson has been an active participant in political debate, Q&A sessions aimed at young audiences, research events and book fairs aimed at various groups in society such as politicians, senior citizens, representatives from business and industry as well as school classes.

Maybe talent is one part of this, but hard work is certainly another.

What have you done to reach out with your research to so many?

“Maybe talent is one part of this, but hard work is certainly another. I decided in 2010 when my career was somewhat secured that I would start spending roughly one day per week on bringing research discussion into society. I don’t tend to count hours but estimate that I have probably spent that amount of time over the years,” says Stefan Jansson.

Stefan Jansson has just submitted a new research application, and this award was a helpful addition to his CV.

“Positive feedback is always inspiring, and inspiration is a truly important asset in research,” he says.

About the Bo and Barbro Hammarström Award

The Bo and Barbro Hammarström Award was established in 2022 at Umeå University following a generous donation from Bo Hammarström. The award is bestowed on an active researcher or teacher at Umeå University who has accomplished prominent achievements to promote academic research and development in one of the following fields: chemistry, cell and molecular biology, microbiology or immunology.

The annual award of SEK 100 000 will be presented for five years – between 2023 and 2027 – at the University’s Annual Celebration Ceremony.