Three of them – Karin Jonsson, Rikard Landberg and Nathalie Scheers – come from the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, where they research food's impact on people and health.
From the Department of Space, Earth and Environment, come the award winners Christel Cederberg, Fredrik Hedenus and Stefan Wirsenius. They carry out research into how the Earth's climate and resources are affected by human food production.
The award committee's justification reads:
“The Chalmers Foundation was established 25 years ago, in 1994, with the goal of helping guide Chalmers to conduct research and education at a top level internationally. Since then, Chalmers has developed in a positive direction and the vision, ‘Chalmers for a sustainable future’, permeates the entire organisation today. This is particularly evident when it comes to large social issues, which Chalmers addresses through multiple research areas, with different perspectives and grants. One area in particular is research into food, and its importance not only to us as individuals, but from a global social perspective .
The Foundation's 2019 award is given to six people, all of whom have distinguished themselves in research areas related to food. The prize winners have all made a significant media impact with their research, and thus strengthened the image of Chalmers as a university that tackles sustainability through a multifaceted approach.
At the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, research is conducted on how food affects us as individuals, especially our health. At the Department of Space, Earth and Environment, researchers study how food production and resource-use affects the climate.”
The prize will be awarded at the doctoral conferment ceremony on 18 May, and consists of a personal award of SEK 15,000 (pre-tax) and SEK 50,000 to be used to finance a collaborative event in which Chalmers' various efforts in this area will be highlighted.
The laureates have been appointed by a prize committee that has been given the task of producing a winner by the Foundation Board. The committee contains representatives from the university, the student union, the CING and the Chalmers Foundation.
The Chalmers Foundation Award has been handed out annually since 2006.
Professor, Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, Head of Division of Food and Nutrition Science
Rikard Landberg is Professor of Food and Health. His group studies the effects of food and specific food components on health and disease risk, in observation and intervention studies and in various model systems. The role of plant-based, high-fibre foods in appetite, hormonal regulation and cardiometabolic risk factors are also of great interest, as well as the development of new techniques to measure what people eat and their effects on individual and group levels. The group is currently working on several studies to investigate new concepts for individual adaptation of diet.
Associate Professor, Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, Division of Food and Nutrition Science
Nathalie Scheers researches in the field of molecular nutrition. She and her team study the intra and extracellular effects of absorbed nutrients in the intestine such as metals, gluten and fish proteins. This can include regulating transport proteins and enzymes or stress that can lead to, for example, cancer, cell death, or oxidative damage. Human cell models are used as a working tool, and intervention and observation studies in humans will soon be used to translate the results.
Further reading: Certain iron supplements may influence the development of colon cancer
Fredrik Hedenus researches strategies to reduce the climate impact of food production and how renewable electricity systems should be designed. He has also co-authored a textbook on the concept of sustainable development, and is active as a teacher and lecturer in the field.
Further reading: New challenges demands new competences
Associate Professor, Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory
Stefan Wirsenius is Associate Professor in Environmental and Resource Assessments of Agriculture. He is an expert in environmental science, with a specialisation in land use, carbon and nitrogen cycling, and greenhouse gas emissions. His expertise also includes agricultural science, with a focus on the modeling of food, bioenergy and agricultural systems.
Stefan Wirsenius's research interests are linked to the great challenge of meeting the growing demand for food from an ever-increasing and richer world population, while reducing the negative environmental impacts of agriculture, such as deforestation.
Further reading: Organic food worse for the environment
Text: Erik Krång
Photo/film: Johan Bodell