Oliver Konzock

Chalmers researcher finalist in Researchers’ Grand Prix

In Researchers’ Grand Prix researchers must present their research in a captivating, inspiring and educational way - in just four minutes. Oliver Konzock, PhD at Chalmers University of Technology, is one of the finalists.

​“When preparing a presentation, I picture how I would explain it to my grandma, who never studied science. If she can follow what I am saying, then most people should,” says Oliver Konzock.

He is a PhD at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and one of eight finalists in Researchers’ Grand Prix. His presentation skills will be tested at the final in Stockholm, 26 November 2019. Together, an expert jury and the audience at the event vote on a winner.

An opportunity to evaluate course in communication
“As part of my PhD program I have taken a course in Advanced communication for the public, and now I have a good opportunity to test and improve my presentation techniques. I hope to learn a trick here and there from the other participants. Additionally, it is a great chance to present my research and my field in science in general,” says Oliver Konzock.

Food oil and sustainability
His research at the Division of Systems and Synthetic Biology focuses on applying a variety of biotechnological tools to engineer yeast to produce food oil equivalents. Finding these equivalents is important since a growing world population results in a growing demand of food oils such as palm oil. To cover those demands vast areas of rainforest are being destroyed every year to make space for palm oil plantations. With yeast as an oil producer the demand could be covered in a more sustainable way.

One of the advantages in communicating Oliver Konzock’s project is that it is simple to break down into understandable units.

“Everyone can picture yeast, everyone can picture food oil and a lot of people know about the environmental issues involved in palm oil production,” he says.

Avoid false perceptions of science
Other research projects can be more abstract, but Oliver Konzock still believes that it is worth the effort to try to explain complex research to the public.
 “I think that researchers focus too much on just doing research and talking to other researchers. It is, of course, important to communicate your results to other scientists through for example scientific papers and conferences, but I think it is also very important to keep in touch with the public. It is the only way to prevent people from having false perceptions of science, or even being afraid of scientific progress, for instance believing that vaccines cause autism,” says Oliver Konzock.

Text: Susanne Nilsson Lindh
Photo: Martina Butorac

Facts: Researchers’ Grand Prix
  • In Researchers Grand Prix, researchers compete to make the most understandable, captivating and inspiring presentation of their research in four minutes.
  • Participants must work with research in the private or public sector in Sweden.
  • The target audience is the general public, primarily teenagers and young adult.
  • The purpose is, among other things, to give research communication a higher status and more attention.
  • Six finalists from regional competitions, and two finalists from the digital contest N.Ö.R.D. (National Open Nationwide Contest) participate in the final in Stockholm 26 November 2019.
  • Oliver Konzock was one of the two finalists from N.Ö.R.D., where researchers from throughout Sweden competed for a spot in the final by submitting a video presentation of themselves and their research.
  • The finale of Researchers’ Grand Prix is arranged by Vetenskap & Allmänhet, VA, an independent Swedish non-profit membership organization that works to promote dialogue and openness between researchers and the public, together with the research councils Formas, Forte, The Swedish Research Council and Vinnova.
  • Read more about Researchers’ Grand Prix

Published: Thu 14 Nov 2019.