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Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize 2019 awarded to leading researchers in European law and marine ecology

The Carlsberg Foundation's Research Awards 2019. From left acting Secretary General of the Royal Academy Marita Akhøj Nielsen, Chairman of the Board of the Carlsberg Foundation Flemming Besenbacher, Minister of Education and Research Ane Halsbo-Jørgensen, recipient Thomas Kiørbo, recipient Mikael Rask Madsen, HRH Crown Princess Mary and President of the Royal Academy Mogens Høgh Jensen | Photo: Lars Svankjær

The Carlsberg Foundation’s Research Prize 2019 has been awarded to Mikael Rask Madsen, professor of European law and integration at the University of Copenhagen, and Thomas Kiørboe, professor of ocean ecology at the Technical University of Denmark.

The prizes were presented by H.R.H. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen, and Carlsberg Foundation Chairman Flemming Besenbacher at the Foundation’s annual banquet at the New Carlsberg Glyptotek.

Mikael Rask Madsen and Thomas Kiørboe have been awarded the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize 2019 for their groundbreaking work on, respectively, the role of the European courts and the microscopic life of the ocean. Of the total prize money of DKK 1 million, DKK 750,000 is earmarked for research activities and DKK 250,000 is a personal gift. The prize is awarded on the recommendation of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

“It's an immense pleasure to award the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize 2019 to Mikael Rask Madsen and Thomas Kiørboe. Both are passionate scientists who have delivered impressive and internationally acclaimed research in their respective fields of international law and marine ecology. Mikael Rask Madsen has made major contributions to overcoming some of the greatest challenges of our time when it comes to ensuring the continued stability and development of the international community, while Thomas Kiørboe is renowned for original scientific thinking which has heralded important breakthroughs in many aspects of marine ecology,” says Chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation Flemming Besenbacher.

The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters’ motivation for rewarding the prize to Mikael Rask Madsen

Mikael Rask Madsen is one of the world’s leading researchers at the intersection between international law, politics and society. His original approach, which combines juridical, humanistic and sociological methods, has led to groundbreaking research in international law, legal sociology and political sociology. Madsen’s basic research is of the very highest international calibre, as demonstrated by his appointment as director of the research centre iCourts. His research has also found clear and immediate application in society.

Madsen’s research centres on the international courts’ power and authority, including an exploration of their social, legal and political processes. He has demonstrated how judicial authority is actually variable and depends on specific actions both in and around the courts. International organisations such as the Council of Europe and the European Union have made concrete use of this research.

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The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters’ motivation for rewarding the prize to Thomas Kiørboe

Thomas Kiørboe is one of the world’s leading marine ecologists and has played a key role in our understanding of life in the ocean. He is recognised globally for his original and provocative scientific approach, and as a pioneer in many aspects of marine ecology.

Through his research and his time at both MIT in Boston and UC in Berkeley, he has managed not only to develop new methods but also to create important links in our understanding of ocean processes from the micro to the macro level.

Kiørboe’s research is notable for drawing effectively on two separate scientific disciplines: biology and physics. It is at the intersection between these two that he has come up with important results such as how nutrient availability combines with molecular diffusion and small-scale fluid motion to determine the structure of the marine pelagic food web – results that have been confirmed again and again by his numerous field surveys.

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About the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize

The Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize was instituted in 2011 to mark the bicentenary of the birth of the Foundation’s founder, J.C. Jacobsen. Each prize of DKK 1 million comprises a personal gift of DKK 250,000 and DKK 750,000 to support a research project.

The objective of the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize is to support two active researchers in Denmark or abroad who have made crucial contributions to basic research and enjoy widespread scientific recognition. The prize is intended to encourage further research and may be used as needed for trips abroad, fieldwork, purchases of equipment or wages for scientific assistants.

Further information is available from the Carlsberg Foundation’s Head of Public Relations, Jane Benarroch: tel. +45 3164 0010 or

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