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Two junior researchers receive the H.C. Ørsted Research Talent Award 2022

Postdoc Cecilie Hermansen and Postdoc Johannes Lund Jensen receive H.C. Ørsted Research Talent Award 2022 for their research in the interaction between soil, environment and climate and carbon storage in cultivated soil and potential for climate adaptation.

Two junior researchers from the Department of Agroecology will be awarded the H.C. Ørsted Research Talent Award. Photo: Colourbox.com
Photo: Cecilie Hermansen
Photo: Johannes Lund Jensen

The two recipients of the H.C. Ørsted Research Talent Award are both from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University, and as a fun fact they also share an office on a daily basis.

"It's a bit funny, it doesn't even happen very often that both recipients are from the same university, and Cecilie and I even share an office," says postdoc Johannes Lund Jensen.

He and Cecilie Hermansen have both been nominated by research colleagues for their unique research work in their respective fields.

Recognised researcher already as a postdoc

It is not the first time Cecilie Hermansen has won a talent award for her research. She has been recognised several times for her research, both in Denmark and internationally. In 2020, she won the Aarhus University Research Fund's PhD award, and in 2015 she won the prestigious PhD competition at the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) meeting.

Soil science has always been the focus of Cecilie Hermansen's career, first as a PhD and now as a postdoc, a career she hopes will continue, when she completes her postdoc in 2024.

"It's always great to be recognised for what you do. And it's very motivating. Of course, I hope to pursue a career in research," she says.

Cecilie Hermansen has developed spectroscopy as a method for rapid measurement of a number of soil parameters, all of which are essential in assessing soil health and vulnerability to leaching of contaminants. Since then, her field of research has expanded to include research on the interactions between plant diversity, soil microorganisms and soil physical and chemical parameters. She plays an important role at SustainScapes - Center for Sustainable Landscapes under Global Change, where her research will help crack the code on how to increase nature's resilience to climate change.

"I am also working on the SINKS project where we are updating the current peatland map. This is important because they are disapearing. When peat is drained, it is simply disappears, emitting a lot of CO2, and we want to avoid that," she says.

In addition to research, Cecilie Hermansen also works as a supervisor and teacher.

"Cecilie has published 14 papers in renowned international journals and is among a small handful of the most promising young researchers in soil physics worldwide. Her research has already had a major impact on our understanding of the soil, which is both vulnerable to and must be one of our major filters against climate change. We are confident that Cecilie will continue to excel and become one of the leading soil researchers internationally", writes Professor Lis Wollensen de Jonge, Professor Mogens H. Greve and Professor Per Møldrup in their nomination of Cecilie Hermansen for the H.C. Ørsted Research Talent Award.

Strong societal relevance

In all modesty, Johannes Lund Jensen considers H.C. Ørsted Research Talent Award as much an acknowledgement of the importance of his research field, as he sees it as an acknowledgement of his skills and achievements as a researcher.

"It's really nice to receive such an award, and I'm really happy that there is a focus on our research area," he says.

And it's a very important subject to which Johannes Lund Jensen has made unique contributions. His basic research has contributed significantly to understanding the mechanisms behind carbon retention in soil, including how changes in field management can help mitigate climate change.

Johannes Lund Jensen has contributed crucial new knowledge on the stabilisation and duration of soil carbon storage. This contribution is crucial for both prevention and adaptation to climate change. Among other things, his research has documented that a new balance (or equilibrium) between carbon supply and removal typically occurs much more quickly than previously thought.

Johannes Lund Jensen has worked on long-term field experiments in both Denmark and the UK. Through his research, he has shown how the experiments can be used to contribute groundbreaking knowledge about carbon in soil.

Johannes Lund Jensen has published 22 papers in renowned scientific journals and his publications are widely cited.

"Johannes' research has strong societal relevance, as carbon storage is a key climate agent. Here, knowledge about the effects of changing cultivation practices, and not least the speed at which these changes occur, is of particular relevance. (...) Johannes Lund Jensen has already made a very significant contribution to the basic knowledge of carbon turnover in soil and its effects," writes Professor Jørgen Eriksen, Professor Lars J. Munkholm and Professor Bent T. Christensen in their nomination of Johannes Lund Jensen.

Award acceptance

The two Research Talent Awards will be presented on 12 August at a ceremony hosted by H.C. Ørsted Society and Langeland Municipality. With the award, each of the two winners will receive a cash prize of DKK 10,000.

Additional information

Read more

You can read more about H.C. Ørsted awards here.


Postdoc Cecilie Hermansen, Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University. Tel: +45 20852301 or e-mail: cecilie.hermansen@agro.au.dk  

Postdoc Johannes Lund Jensen, Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University. Tel: +45 22193421 or e-mail: jlj@agro.au.dk