Professor Frank Aarebrot wins the Norwegian Research Council’s Science Communication Award
Professor Frank Aarebrot of the Department of Comparative Politics has won the Norwegian Research Council’s 2014 Award for Excellence in Communication of Science. It comprises a cash prize of NOK 250 000.
‘The obvious winner’
The Norwegian Research Council gives the award annually to a researcher who has demonstrated outstanding ability and innovation in communicating the results of his or her research. The jury for the award observes in its announcement that Aarebrot is ‘engaged, unafraid, direct and clear in all his research communication and has an impressive impact.’ There were altogether nine candidates for the award.
The jury also notes that Aarebrot manages ‘to create interest in and bring attention to - not just his own area of research - but social science in general’, and that he ‘is the obvious winner’ of this year’s Award for Excellence in Communication of Science.
Four decades of outstanding science communication
It was the University of Bergen that nominated Professor Frank Aarebrot for the award. Mr. Aarebrot has for many years been the most cited Norwegian professor in all of Norwegian media, and has been cited in foreign ones as well, including notable outlets such as The New York Times and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which the university obviously noted.
In the nomination the university refers to Mr. Aarebrot’s ‘talented and cheerful communication of science’ during the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution. Notably, Mr. Aarebrot gave a three-hour nationally broadcasted TV-lecture on Norwegian history February 28th.
The TV program, “200 years in 200 minutes” was a huge hit with television viewers, with 230 000 Norwegians watching the entire 3 hours of the show, and 700 000 tuning in at some point during the broadcast or watching it online afterwards. It also became a Twitter trend.
Moreover, Professor Aarebrot gave a speech on live television on the history of the national day celebration May 17th at Eidsvoll, where the constitutional assembly was held in 1814, with the three Scandinavian royal families in attendance.
Varied communication for a varied audience
The University of Bergen also noted that Mr. Aarebrot has spoken about a broad variety of political science-related topics to a broad variety of audiences over the years, including the May 17th 2014 speech for the three Scandinavian royal families. Has also given lectures on human rights as foreign policy to an assembly of Norwegian ambassadors; on Dutch politics in Dutch to the Dutch Party D66; on the significance of the civil sector for democracy development - held in Suleimania, Iraq; on the Norwegian judicial system to the Lawyers’ Association and the Gulating District Court; on politics in Norway to Burmese electoral observers from both the government and opposition parties; on the 2013 Norwegian parliamentary election to inmates at Bergen Correctional Facility; on the 2013 Norwegian parliamentary election for the Aphasia Association; and on the 2011 local elections in Norway to a clinic for treatment of alcohol addicts.
Communication through many channels
Another aspect of Professor Aarebrot’s communication of science is the breadth of channels he has communicated throough. Since the 1970s, Mr. Aarebrot has communicated science in the media, as a public speaker, as a lecturer, and as an author of scientific publications. Through these he has communicated to a broad specter of institutions and actors, including public agencies (including local politicians and civil servants, ambassadors, executive agencies), political parties, universities, community colleges, elementary and high schools, private enterprises, educational institutions for the elderly, and civil society organizations.
Student recruitment and polling agencies
Through his numerous presentations and lectures at community colleges and high schools Professor Aarebrot has also made an education in political science an exciting and attractive choice for both pupils and students, the University of Bergen writes in its nomination.
Mr. Aarebrot has also supervised the establishment of Opinion and Respons, two polling agencies conducting polls on political issues and society more broadly.
It was the sum of this rich communication of science over many years that led the University of Bergen to nominate the prominent professor, and that convinced the Research Council jury.
The university received valuable support from a number of external actors who wished to endorse the nomination: Director of The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation Thor Gjermund Eriksen, former TV2 director Alf Hildrum, Bergen mayor Trude Drevland, Bergens Tidende editor Gard Steiro, political professor Bernt Hagtvedt of the University of Oslo, the Bergen Student Society, labour union confederation Unio leader Anders Folkestad, journalist Arne O. Holm, The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions councilor Arvid Ellingsen, and Åsane and Bergen U3A Seniors’ Universities.
The Department of Comparative Politics congratulates Professor Frank Aarebrot on winning the much-deserved award!
Click here to see previous winners of the award.