Jesper Ryberg: Prized researcher


Monday is the deadline for nominations for Dansk Magisterforening‘s two research awards. RUC’s Jesper Ryberg won one of them in 2012. He is just generally very much a prize-winning professor.


Der er ikke flere forskningspriser tilbage at vinde for professor Jesper Ryberg. Foto: Uffe weng.

No more research awards left to win for Professor Jesper Ryberg. Photo: Uffe Weng.

“I’ve just been showered with awards in recent years.”

Literally, one could say. It’s actually quite impressive just how many awards RUC’s Professor of Philosophy Jesper Ryberg has received. In 2011 he won the Elite Research Prize, in 2012 one of the two annual research prizes awarded by Dansk Magisterforening (the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs), and in 2013 the Danish Foreign Ministry’s Research Communication Award. Just the other day he also received (as also mentioned in RUSK) the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize – which, of course, he’s quite happy about.

“It really means a lot, because researchers are no different from anyone else – recognition makes us happy – and because the awards help me in my research,” says the professor, whose speciality is punishment and ethics.

Click here to read more about the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize

More specifically, most prizes involve grants: most recently one million kroner from the Carlsberg Foundation, the largest amount he has ever received that way. The awards also make it easier to raise further funding from various research councils:

“The councils don’t tell you why they are giving you money, but I’ve been a member of such organisations before, and it means something, of course, that others have already found the work of the researcher in question worthy of grant money.”

It is especially nice when the award money is not earmarked for anything in particular.

“It’s very unusual. When you apply for funding, the money is supposed to go to what you specify in your application, but, with this particular award, they let you decide what to spend the money on. If you want to tackle a specific research project or if you’d rather spend it on attending some special conference in Beijing next month, then you can do that. It gives you a huge degree of freedom,” explains Professor Ryberg.

“I actually don’t think there are any more prizes I can win within my own area of research.”

Which of the four prizes are you most proud of?

Looking at it from a completely objective point of view, it’s the Carlsberg Foundation prize. It’s a bigger prize than the one from Dansk Magisterforening or the Research Communication Award, and unlike the Elite Research Prize, which is awarded to five people each year, this one is just one single prize awarded each year. But I’m especially happy about the two first-mentioned ones, because one of the specific reasons I received both of them was dissemination. That means a lot to me.

What’s good for RUC

It might seem that the title of “RUC’s star researcher” might fit Professor Ryberg, a man who got his professorship at the tender young age of 35, but he isn’t so crazy about that label. He would much rather talk about how RUC should use success stories like his to promote the university as a whole.

“I’d like to say that awards are damned good for RUC, and that I think RUC should really use it to promote itself when that kind of thing happens. We have to communicate the message that research is essential, and you can do that by calling attention to your research successes. It shows that RUC isn’t just a university for education,” he says.

Is Rasmus Kleis Nielsen the next star in the research heavens?

Each year for the past four years, you’ve won a prize. What will you be aiming for next year?

Ha, ha. Maybe some people think it’s a bit unfair I keep winning all these prizes, but the fact is that I didn’t go after them myself. Either someone unknown to me nominated me or I was nominated by a committee. So I can’t try to win these awards. Having said that, I actually don’t think there are any more prizes I can win within my area of research.

Monday is your last chance to nominate a researcher candidate for the Dansk Magisterforening Researcher Prize. Click here to find all the relevant information.

Dansk Magisterforening uddeler én pris til en forsker inden for naturvidenskab og teknik og én pris til en forsker inden for samfundsvidenskab og humaniora. Priserne uddeles først og fremmest som en anerkendelse af en fremragende forskningsindsats.m Foto: Dansk Magisterforening.

Dansk Magisterforening  (The Danish Association of Masters and PhDs) awards one prize a year to a researcher in science or engineering and one prize to a researcher in the social sciences or the humanities. The prizes are primarily awarded in recognition of excellent research work. Photo: Dansk Magisterforening.






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