Paediatrician wins award for excellent research dissemination

Professor Trond Markestad is the man who made new-born infants sleep on their backs. Now he wins the Meltzer Award for his outstanding research dissemination.

The Meltzer Award 2015 winners, left to right: Trond Markestad, UiB Rector Dag Rune Olsen, Katrine Løken and Harald Barsnes.
THE JOY OF WINNING: Trond Markestad (far left) received the Meltzer Award for research dissemination on 6 March 2015. He is joined by (from left) UiB Rector Dag Rune Olsen and winners of the Meltzer young researcher award winners Katrine Løken and Harald Barsnes.
Thor Brødreskift

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“It is possibly the simplest research I have conducted, but it is definitely the part of my research that has had the greatest impact,” says Professor Trond Markestad at the Department of Clinical Science at the University of Bergen (UiB).

On Friday 6 March, he was awarded the Meltzer Award for excellent research dissemination, including his work to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Based on his research, Markestad went public in the early 1990s with recommendations that new-borns should sleep on their backs, not the stomach.

He emphasises this as the most rewarding research he has done.

“In the 1980s, there was an atmosphere of crisis over SIDS and this research turned out to be important for many people. In a matter of months there was an immediate effect on the occurrence of SIDS,” says the professor of medicine.


Council chair, writer and knight

Trond Markestad has extensive experience both as a researcher and paediatrician at UiB and Haukeland University Hospital. He has chaired the Medical Ethics Council of the Norwegian Medical Association and has written a number of medical textbooks. He is also popular as a lecturer at various universities and university colleges.

In 2012, Markestad was also appointed knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav for his work in neonatal medicine.


How to be a good communicator

“It is very satisfying to be recognised by my colleagues, so for me it’s a great honour to receive the Meltzer Award,” says Markestad.

He believes that the most important factor when it comes to being an effective communicator is to be prepared to stand up for the discoveries you make in your research.

“To be a good communicator you need to be clear and specific, and also to be willing to share your knowledge as straightforward and enticing as possible.”


(Translated from the Norwegian by Sverre Ole Drønen.)