Picture of researchers
Marie Alminger, Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen, Yuliya Kalmykova, Elsebeth Schröder, Sonja Tidblad Lundmark, Karin Andersson. ​​​
Photo: Chalmers, Oscar Mattsson and Anna-Lena Lundqvist​​​
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Researchers facing the big challenges

Research into everything from galaxies to human health, developing the shipping industry, electric vehicles, material properties and sustainable cities. They may focus on widely different subjects, but their research contributes to sustainable development and generates academic success.​

​There are many prominent researchers at Chalmers and in connection to 8 March, International Women's Day, we have chosen to acknowledge some researchers who are highly cited within their own fields of research: Marie Alminger, Karin Andersson, Yuliya Kalmykova, Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen, Elsebeth Schröder and Sonja Tidblad Lundmark.

Marie AlmingerMarie Alminger, Professor, Biology and Biological Engineering

Marie Alminger wants to improve knowledge on how foods are disintegrated during digestion, identify bioactive compounds that are released and absorbed in the body, investigate potential effects of these compounds on human health.


What benefit does your research give to society?
“Increased knowledge on how food composition, structures and content of specific bioactive compounds affect health will be useful to understand how foods can contribute to the prevention of some diseases, for example type 2 diabetes and cardio-vascular disease.”

What are the biggest challenges within your research area?
 “Food digestion is a highly complex process. Many questions remain on how, for example, different compounds in the body are released, transported, and absorbed, and about their biological activity. Multiple methods are required to identify and analyse digested compounds. Interlaboratory studies, using the same methods, are important to yield successful results.”

Karin AnderssonKarin Andersson, Professor, Maritime Environmental Science

Karin Andersson’s research investigates the relationship between technical systems and nature, and how to develop technology to become more sustainable. Since 2007 she has focused on working with shipping and sea transport. The conversion from the traditional heavy fuel oils to non-fossil energy carriers with minimal emissions sets demands for evaluating the large spectrum of new alternatives. Together with the research group, Karin Andersson is working with fuels and energy conversion in shipping, and methods for providing scientifically based support for using natural resources in a sustainable way, with minimal environmental impact. 
“A bonus is that the group consists of several female senior scientists who are on their way to become highly cited", says Karin Andersson.
 
What benefit does your research give to society?
“The societal impact of the research is that results and knowledge is transferred to and used by decision makers in industry and shipping sector. Other important target groups are those who work with regulations and policy making within authorities and politics.” 

What are the biggest challenges?
“The challenge is to communicate a complex reality in a manner that not only answers the questions but also contributes to increased knowledge and understanding in both industry and society”.  

Read more about Karin Andersson

Yuliya KalmykovaYuliya Kalmykova, Associate Professor, Architecture and Civil Engineering 

Yuliya Kalmykova’s research is about Urban Metabolism - to study and understand the turnover of resources, energy and emission flows in cities. 

What benefit does your research give to society?
“The benefit for society is comprehension of the relationship between a city’s metabolism, the measures taken to manage it and the environmental impacts or benefits the measures have”.
 
What are the biggest challenges?
“55 percent of the Earth’s population live in cities today, and our cities are responsible for about 80 percent of global resource use and greenhouse gas emissions. By the year 2050 the urban population is expected to have increased to 70 percent, which will further increase cities environmental impact - unless we transform cities to become more sustainable. Here is where our research comes in, and I believe we can achieve a lot by planning and making a transition to a circular economy.”

Read more about Yuliya Kalmykova

Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen, Professor, Department of Space, Earth and Environment

Our universe is about 13.8 billion years old and our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is almost as old. Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen’s research topic is galaxy formation and evolution, and she studies the early phases of galaxy evolution to understand why they appear the way to they do today.  Some of the goals are to understand how super-massive black holes impact the growth of galaxies, to push as far back in time as possible to find the earliest galaxies and understand how the Milky Way might have looked in the early times.  
 
What benefit does your research give to society?
“Basic science is the key to our understanding of nature and provides the basis for subsequent innovations and new technology. Astronomy inspires many people, young and old, as it focuses on fundamental questions about our place in the universe.”  
 
What are the biggest challenges?
“There are the general challenges, for example, stable funding, long-term investments in large telescopes, clear career paths, and the necessary political will to support basic science. As for the topic itself, we do not know what the first galaxies look like, which makes the searches very challenging. Also, the new, large telescopes are providing large amounts of new unexpected results that challenge the models that are otherwise used for interpretation. Of course, facing the scientific challenges is really exciting because it pushes our knowledge forward”.  

Elsebeth SchröderElsebeth Schröder, Professor, Microtechnology and Nanoscience

Elsebeth Schröder works on theoretical methods in physics on an atomic scale. In her research, she strives to describe how the nature of the electrons determines the material properties, to predict material structure and behavior from computations. Materials is here to be understood in quite general terms, covering a range of systems, from oxide surfaces, over carbon-based filters, to DNA fragments.

What benefit does your research give to society?
“The method development that I contribute to is of great value to other researchers around the world.  I and other researchers use the methods for problems that are important for materials production or have health-related aspects. For example, I have looked at the mechanisms of water purification of perfluorinated molecules and how the structure of DNA is affected by, for example, intercalation of carcinogenic molecules between base pairs in DNA”.

What are the biggest challenges?
“The greatest challenges lie in further developing the theoretical methods, so that we can become even better at understanding and predicting properties in materials. This involves both refining the methods and enabling application to even more complicated material systems”.

 Sonja Tidblad LundmarkSonja Tidblad Lundmark, Associate Professor, Electrical engineering

Sonja Tidblad Lundmarks research is about modelling and designing electrical machines for applications in, among other things, electric vehicles and wind power stations.
 
What benefit does your research give to society?
“The benefits lie in developing sustainable, cost-effective alternatives that can contribute to, for example, more people being able to afford to drive an electric car, or that magnets and copper material can be recycled from electric motors when the electric car is scrapped”.
 
What are the biggest challenges?
“A major challenge is to develop calculation models that are neither too simple, nor overly complicated. The goal is to find models that are sufficiently detailed to be able to simulate real-world conditions, and yet being manageable when the electric machine models are connected to a larger system. That applies, for example, if the entire electric car is to be modelled for various drive cycles and different weather conditions. In order to develop functional models, good cooperation between different areas of knowledge is needed. I have been fortunate to be part of good collaborations!”.


 
Text: Julia Jansson, Susanne Nilsson Lindh, Anders Ryttarson Törneholm, Catharina Björk, Christian Löwhagen, Mikael Nystås, Yvonne Jonsson​

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Facts 
The selection of researchers in the article was made based on bibliometric data from Chalmers Department of Communication and Learning in Science (CLS). 

Citation 
Citation is a measure of research success. When researchers cite a publication, it shows that the cited publication reports results from research that are relevant to the research area. The number of citations indicate how significant the article is in a field of study, or how controversial it is, or how popular the topic is. By studying who cited whom in a subject area, one can subsequently see how concepts have evolved over time. Both citation and publishing practices differ between disciplines. Therefore, it is difficult to compare the citation rate between researchers from different fields of research.

Field Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI)

Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) is based on all peer-reviewed publications indexed in the Scopus database.  It indicates how the number of citations received by a researcher’s publications compares to all articles in the same field and timeframe. It considers the differences in research behavior across disciplines. 

More information: bibliometrics.lib@chalmers.se
Source: Chalmers Division of Research Support, Bibliometrics and Ranking (RBR), Department of Communication and Learning in Science (CLS).

Published: Mon 16 Mar 2020.