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Aarhus University appoints forty-seven top international health science researchers as Skou professors

Health will inaugurate forty-seven researchers from twelve different countries as Honorary Skou professors on the very day that would have been the late Nobel Prize winner Jens Christian Skou’s 101st birthday. The new professors will help to enhance the faculty’s profile as an international research institution.

2019.09.27 | Henriette Stevnhøj og Lise Wendel Eriksen

More and more groundbreaking health research takes place globally in international networks involving the best universities. The Faculty of Health at Aarhus University is now expanding its network by affiliating a total of 47 honorary professors who come from 34 recognised universities abroad.

"Denmark already enjoys a strong position in the international research landscape. With this initiative we wish to further strengthen our researchers’ international collaboration and relations, as this is where the newest knowledge is often exchanged,” says Dean at Health, Lars Bo Nielsen.

The 47 top researchers will be awarded the title of Honorary Skou professor – a reference to medical doctor and professor Jens Christian Skou, the man who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1997 for his discovery of the sodium-potassium pump. He remained active at Aarhus University until his death at the age of 99 in 2018, and a number of research groups at the university take his groundbreaking research as their starting point. The appointment of the new visiting scientists as Skou professors is intended to honour Skou as a role model within the research community, but also to emphasise the importance of international collaboration.

Lars Bo Nielsen explains:

"When Jens Christian Skou began his research career in 1947, he was not part of an actual research environment at the university. A period of study abroad in the USA in 1953 had a crucial impact on Skou. Here he met colleagues with whom he could share his ideas and discuss results. He continued to cultivate his international network, while encouraging students and colleagues to do the same, throughout his long life. This is the spirit in which we appoint the Skou professors.”

The Skou professors come from world-class universities such as Stanford, Oxford and Yale. In Aarhus they will be affiliated with a colleague from their academic field who will, in addition to acting as host at the inauguration, also ensure that the Skou professor becomes involved in the relevant research networks and projects at the faculty.

"We have deliberately chosen to anchor our initiative in the individual research environments. The knowledge that is needed to help us resolve the health challenges we face in Denmark and around the world is shared and developed via relationships and personal collaborations," says Lars Bo Nielsen.

He is also certain that Danish healthcare research has much to offer in international relations.

“Denmark is known and recognised internationally for a good healthcare system and in research circles for high quality and creativity, skilled students and a responsible research culture. And, of course, we also have unique access to data that is valuable for research purposes. This makes us attractive in an international context," says Lars Bo.





Dean of the Faculty of Health, Aarhus University, Lars Bo Nielsen

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