Two young researchers receive 2015 Meltzer Award

Martin A. Fernø and Michaël Tatham are both described as innovative young researchers, with an international reach.

Meltzer 2016
MELTZER AWARD WINNERS: Michaël Tatham, Cecilie Schou Andreassen, rector Dag Rune Olsen and Martin A. Fernø.
Thor Brødreskift

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On 8 March 2016, Martin A. Fernø and Michaël Tatham were awarded the 2015 Meltzer Award for young, gifted researchers at the University of Bergen (UiB). Both are in their early thirties, and have managed to make a name for themselves in Norwegian and international research.

Involving young students in scientific networks is a necessity for the success of young researchers, as is participating actively in research and research stays with international research partners, according to Fernø.

”Being given responsibilities at a young age is imperative. Young researchers need to experience support from their supervisors and professors,” he says.

Tatham thinks young researchers first and foremost succeed through hard work, with luck as an important factor.

”It takes hard work, stubbornness and perseverance, which tends to be ok for us researchers. We get to work on issues we care about. Applying to journals with high rate of refusals or applying for research programmes, however, demands a fair amount of luck. I have never met anyone with success, who did not need a bit of luck along the way,” says Tatham.

Improving CO2 storage

As Associate Professor at the Department of Physics and Technology, Martin A Fernø has made his mark with research which can create a more sustainable fossil energy production through reducing CO2 emissions as well as storing CO2. He is connected with the Petroleum and Process Technology Research Group at the Department and the research activity reservoir physics.

He is inspired by the Meltzer Award.

”The award proves that the research group’s clear strategy of prioritising students, and including them in research when they begin their studies is something that works. I am privileged to be able to do research I have a passion for,” he says.

In March 2015, Fernø and his colleagues presented research which applies scanning technology known from medicine, to improve how one stores CO2.

Fernø is a productive researcher, and has written 71 scientific articles since 2007, many of them in collaboration with researchers from institutions such as Imperial College London, Stanford University, Rice University and Université de Bordeaux.

”He shows remarkable skills as a scientist, innovator, supervisor and motivator, and has an impressive work capacity and a will to create new paths,” writes the award committee in their recommendation.

Fernø looks forward to a career in research, and wants to contribute to creating technological solutions for energy production, with both sustainable use of fossil fuel and an increasing focus on sustainable energy sources in mind.

”The world needs energy, both now and in the future. I believe interdisciplinary research and cooperation across disciplines will be important to secure the world’s need of energy,” says the award winner.

The multi-level politics of the EU

Michaël Tatham, at the Department of Comparative Politics, was made professor at the age of 33, in 2014. His research focuses on multi-level politics in the European Union. One of his research projects involved interviewing 300 senior officials from five EU countries.

 The committee is of the opinion that Tatham made a mark with innovative research within different fields of political science. The committee also points out the internationally prominent role he has in his research community. Not least, he has been involved in teaching and research in Bergen, as exemplified by his leadership of the BA programme in European Studies, co-organizing advanced methods workshops for both students and scientific staff.

Tatham feels that UiB is a good place for endeavours such as the workshops, thanks to internal economic means at UiB and the department.

”There is a lot more enthusiasm and support from both the scientific and the administrative environments at UiB than at many other universities I know of, as well as less bureaucratic hurdles,” says the French national.