Holst Knudsen and Victor Albeck awards for scientific achievement conferred on AU professors

The Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research went to professor of medicine Søren Riis Paludan, and professor of biology Signe Normand received the Victor Albeck Award. The awards were conferred on Wednesday 25 May on the occasion of Aarhus University’s annual awards ceremony in the Main Hall. On the same occasion, the Aarhus University Research Foundation conferred five PhD prizes – for the twentieth time.

[Translate to English:] Prismodtagerne professor Signe Normand og professor Søren Riis Paludan.
Professor Signe Normand and Professor Søren Riis Paludan receive AU’s science awards, which are named after two of the university’s founders: Victor Albeck and Carl Holst-Knudsen. Photo: Anne Kring

The names of the university’s most prestigious science awards, the Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research and the Victor Albeck Award, are named after the two local luminaries, eminent physician Victor Albeck and influential barrister Carl Holst-Knudsen, both of whom played a decisive role in the founding of Aarhus University. This year, the awards went to a professor from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and a professor from the Faculty of Health.

Victor Albeck Award honours AU researcher’s work on climate change
Professor of Biology Signe Normand has been awarded the Victor Albeck Award for her groundbreaking research on climate change and nature conservation. The Victor Albeck Award was established by the Aarhus University Research Foundation in 2021.

Signe Normand has developed innovative methods to understand how plants are affected by environmental and climate change across space and time. She is one of the few researchers in the world – and the only researcher in Denmark –  who combines special drone and satellite images, known as remote sensing, with the ecological study of growth rings in trees and shrubs.

She employs an interdisciplinary approach, building bridges between disciplines and approaches, and, in 2021, was appointed chairperson of Denmark’s first biodiversity council.

Signe Normand received the Aarhus University Research Foundation PhD Prize in 2011.

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Holst-Knudsen award honours AU researcher’s contributions to immunology


Professor of Medicine Søren Riis Paludan has been awarded the Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research for his innovative research into how viral infections activate the immune system.

Søren Riis Paludan has identified basic mechanisms in the immune response and, by doing so, has made a significant contribution to scientific knowledge that has paved the way for new vaccines and the treatment of a variety of diseases, including COVID-19. His approach to the immunology of infection has led to several groundbreaking discoveries and has changed the way we understand the immune system. 

Over the last two years, Søren Riis Paludan has appeared in the Danish and international media more than 4,500 times and has thus played a vital role in informing the public about Covid-19 and helping society navigate the pandemic.

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Both prizes carry a cash award of 100,000 DKK.