Lars Arendt-Nielsen, Professor, Aalborg University Faculty of Medicine, received the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs (Dansk Magisterforening, DM) Award for Science and Engineering 2015. Just as important as the DKK 50,000 is the honor that comes with the award. The award is given based on recommendations from research colleagues. That his colleagues have recommended him is in line with the fact that for over 30 years Lars Arendt Nielsen has built a leading international research center that today has 100 affiliated researchers, half of whom come from abroad. The recommendation of Lars Arendt-Nielsen for the research award is also justified by the empathetic, participatory and committed research management he practices where inclusiveness and recognition go hand-in-hand with hardline management. The Research Center has trained more than 150 young researchers.
The justification for the award notes that over the last 30 years Lars Arendt-Nielsen has been a pioneer in pain research and throughout this period has worked tirelessly to develop a number of different methods to measure the strength of the pain. Starting from a technical background, he moved into the neuro-scientific and medical research areas. For example, he and his research group have demonstrated that the pain system changes in people with chronic pain, knowledge that helps to predict whether new painkillers have a future in the treatment of specific pain conditions.
Nielsen’s pioneering research covers many aspects of pain research, from animals to humans, with the primary focus on the musculoskeletal system. For example, he has partnered on developing entirely new technologies (so-called biomarkers) that can classify chronic pain patients into different groups. This is the first time we have been able to make this link, which makes it possible to identify which individuals will develop pain after knee surgery.
In conjunction with many national and international partners, Lars Arendt-Nielsen's expertise that combines neuroscience, medicine and technology, has created the basis for the Danish success in this area. He has gathered researchers from a good many disciplines into a unique interdisciplinary research environment, and with great tenacity he has communicated the latest research to a broad audience, including through radio and TV.
This is the tenth time that Dansk Magisterforening has handed out its research awards.
The purpose of DM's research awards is to shine a light on research as a key driving force in the development of ideas that are societally relevant. The awards also focus on the diversity among researchers and highlight provocative, controversial and new ideas that are scientifically substantiated.
In a time where research is increasingly judged by its commercial value, DM would like to reward the research that creates lasting change and the research that has no immediately visible goal or economic return.
Lars Arendt-Nielsen, Professor, Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University LAN@hst.aau.dk, +45 20 94 07 64