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New Head of Department at the Department of Agroecology

Jørgen E. Olesen is per 1 March 2020 employed as Head of Department at the Department of Agroecology after having been acting Head of Department since September 2019.

2020.02.24 | Camilla Brodam

Photo: Lise Balsby - AU Kommunikation

Professor Jørgen E. Olesen will continue to lead the Department of Agroecology when he moves from being acting Head of Department to Head of Department on March 1st. He is employed for a period of six years.

Jørgen E. Olesen is one of Denmark's most recognized climate scientists, and in addition he has held titles as Professor, Section Leader and most recently acting Head of Department at the Department of Agroecology. Throughout his career, Jørgen E. Olesen has been concerned with the interaction between agriculture and climate, and in particular how climate change is handled.

Dean Eskild Holm Nielsen is pleased to welcome Jørgen E. Olesen as a permanent member of the faculty management at the Faculty of Technical Sciences:

“I look forward to our continued collaboration, and I believe that he is the right person to head the department so that it continues to be an active player in the new faculty and in the faculty's new strategic direction,” says Eskild Holm Nielsen.

From agricultural meteorology to the Nobel Peace Prize

Jørgen E. Olesen started his career at the Statens Planteavlsforsøg in 1983 on agricultural meteorology, and in 1991 he became head of a multidisciplinary project concerning winter wheat. This gave him a broad background on research into the importance of climate in plant breeding. Since then, climate change has filled more and more in his research and teaching, and he is one of the most recognized researchers in climate and agriculture in Europe and globally.

"I am known in environmental and agricultural circles for a nuanced angle on the interaction between agriculture, environment and climate," he says. And there is a long list of facts about Jørgen E. Olesen that justifies this: 

  • He has been a member of the UN Climate Panel, the IPCC, and was therefore part of the research team that received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
  • He is a former member of the Climate Commission, the Natur- og Landbrugskommisionen and the Danish Council on Ethics. 
  • He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Copenhagen, China Agricultural University and Ganzu Agricultural University (China).
  • He is a researcher fellow at the Sino-Danish Center for Education and Research (Beijing, China) and the Global Change Research Institute (Brno, Czech Republic).
  • He has held advisory duties for both the World Bank and the FAO.
  • He is chairman of the agricultural and food group the green think tank CONCITO.
  • He has a leadership role in AU's iCLIMATE center.
  • He is a member of several advisory committees on agriculture, climate and sustainability research at both European and Danish levels, including the FACCE Scientific Advisory Board, L & F's Advisory Board and the Government's Climate Partnership for Agriculture and Food.

According to Clarivate, Jørgen E. Olesen is among the world's 6,000 best-cited researchers. In addition, he is known for having a strong and credible voice in the Danish debate on agriculture, climate and sustainability, and he has extensive experience in being in the media spotlight 

“It has given me a great deal of robustness and experience, which I think can benefit the department. We are facing major challenges in providing relevant research and advice within the green transition. It is a task that we will have to solve with professionalism, honesty, credibility and good communication. I look forward to the many interesting challenges that come with the job as head of department,” he says.

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