The Research Prizes 2023



The Carlsberg Foundation’s Research Prizes 2023 have been awarded to literary historian Anne-Marie Mai and macroecologist Jens-Christian Svenning.

Professor Anne-Marie Mai from the University of Southern Denmark has been awarded the prize for her contributions to Danish literary history research, which have altered our perception of how literature can be studied and analysed. She has also led the way in research into literature written by women and, for more than half a century, communicated Danish literature and cultural history to a wide audience both at home and abroad.

Professor Jens-Christian Svenning from Aarhus University has been awarded the prize for his internationally acclaimed basic research spanning from macroecological processes to the development of methods and ideas for rewilding to benefit both the planet’s climate and its ecosystems. He is also a tireless pioneer in his field when it comes to developing solutions to major global social challenges resulting from climate change.

About nominating Anne-Marie Mai for the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize, the Prize Committee writes:

Throughout her career, Mai has created new approaches and understandings of literature, not only in Denmark and the Nordic region but also in an international context. She has changed our understanding of recent periods of Danish literature, identifying a break in the mid-1960s and the emergence of a new period. In doing so, she has linked together leading bodies of work in a new way and established the concept of the “formal breakthrough”, an insight that has woven together a variety of contributions to Danish literary history. This discovery has been pivotal for Danish and Nordic literary research, and the “formal breakthrough” is now a recognised period of recent Danish literature.

About nominating Jens-Christian Svenning for the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize, the Prize Committee writes:

Svenning’s scholarship has broken new ground in our understanding of vegetation dynamics in terms of the diversity of trees in Europe, especially when it comes to the long-term effects of climate change. He has greatly advanced our understanding of humankind’s impact on nature, including both the acute challenges we face from climate change and its lasting consequences. He has also helped develop evolutionary models to estimate the millions of years it will take to reverse the loss of mammalian diversity caused by climate change.

About the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize

The Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes were instituted in 2011 to mark the bicentenary of the birth of founder J. C. Jacobsen. The objective of the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prizes is to honour two active researchers, in Denmark or abroad, who have made vital contributions to basic research and enjoy great scientific recognition. The prizes are meant to encourage further research and can be spent, as required, on research stays abroad, field work, equipment or salary for scientific assistance.

The prizes are awarded on the recommendation of an international Prize Committee appointed by the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters and the Carlsberg Foundation. Each prize amounts to DKK 1 million. From this, DKK 250.000 is a personal gift and DKK 750.000 is for research.