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Turning thinking on its head at Health's PhD Day

New ways of thinking challenged old habits on Friday when several hundred PhD students from Health converged on the Lakeside Lecture Theatres together with supervisors and international guests. The day was filled with poster sessions, panel debates and a keynote lecture, before culminating in the awarding of prizes and scholarships during the evening's celebration dinner.

The day's keynote speaker Rupert Sheldrake challenged the audience with an insight into his thoughts on scientific dogmas.


PhD student Johan Frederik Håkonsen Arendt, chair of the PhD Association, welcomed participants to the PhD Day with a speech that took Einstein as a starting point.



The auditorium was full from the start of the day when the three recipients of the Fogh-Nielsen scholarship presented their research. The committee had received a total of 19 applications for the scholarship, and according to the chairman of the Fogh-Nielsen committee Søren Moestrup, finding the three PhD students who would receive this year’s scholarship had not been an easy task. The scholarship includes a cash prize of DKK 125,000 that is shared between the three PhD students.


PhD student Stinne Greisen from the Department of Biomedicine was one of the recipients of the Fogh-Nielsen scholarship. She presented her research into the role of the immune system in rheumatoid arthritis. She received DKK 60,000.


PhD student Kaja Zuwala from the Department of Clinical Medicine also received the Fogh-Nielsen scholarship. She presented her research into new treatment of HIV. She received DKK 40,000.


PhD student Lars Andersen from the Department of Clinical Medicine was the final scholarship recipient. He presented his study of the effect of vitamin B1 on complications after by-pass operations. He received DKK 25,000.


During the day almost 300 PhD students presented their research projects for their fellow students and other interested participants at poster sessions in the Lakeside Lecture Theatres, as well as at the Bartholin Building and the anatomy building. The stylish posters that the PhD students themselves made were left up until after lunch, so that everyone had time to take a look at them.


The auditorium filled up again in the early afternoon when the keynote speaker – the British scientist and thinker Rupert Sheldrake – took to the stage.


Rupert Sheldrake discussed both the challenges and opportunities for good research, getting his audience to reflect on the subject in the process. One of the things he took up was why it is we can feel that someone is looking at us from behind.


Vice-Dean for Research at Health, Ole Steen Nielsen (left), talking with Rupert Sheldrake (centre) after the keynote speaker’s presentation. On the right is Professor Ebba Nexø, chair of the Organising Committee for the event.


Before the panel discussion got underway, there was time to discuss Rupert Sheldrake’s presentation over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.


The panel discussions revolved around the theme of this year’s PhD Day – Set Science Free. One of the topics discussed by the panellists was the best way for the PhD degree programme to promote creativity and development among the PhD students. The four panellists were PhD student at AU Peter Sinkjær Kenney (far left), Vice-Dean for Education at Health, Charlotte Ringsted (rearmost on the right), Professor Gorm Greisen, KU (in the centre) and Professor Jens Christian Djurhuus, AU (on the right).

At the evening celebration following the PhD Day Jens Cosedis Nielsen received the JCD prize as this years supervisor at Health.