One of the scholarships was won by Rikke Kruse Henriksen, a biochemistry student at the University of Southern Denmark. She can now concentrate full time on the difference between white and brown fat, an area of research that is becoming increasingly significant in the international research community. White fat cells are the body's energy reserve. Excess energy from food can be stored to be broken down during periods of low food intake or increased exercise. Brown fat cells, on the other hand, can break down fat in order to generate heat, and are the type of fat which brown bears and other animals use when hibernating.
"If you can promote the formation of brown fat cells at the expense of white fat cells, it would be possible to prevent many people from becoming overweight, thereby giving them a better quality of life. I'm really looking forward to starting work on my master thesis and analysing the structures and processes in cells that can cause humans to develop one form of fat rather than the other," says Rikke Kruse Henriksen.
Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation Charlotte Sahl-Madsen is very happy on behalf of the talented students, and she's also looking forward to a bright future for Denmark: "Denmark will have to live from knowledge-based industries in the future and it's fantastic that so many promising research talents have been given the opportunity to concentrate fully on their master theses. That will give them better results in the short term, and make them better researchers in the long term," she said.
In order to ensure that the next generation of students will consider a career in the natural sciences, scholarship recipients will be touring Danish schools as Novo Science Ambassadors during the coming year to tell others about their studies and research focus.
This is the 15th year that Novo Nordisk and Novozymes have funded scholarships. During this period, a total of 27.5 million kroner has been made available to almost 500 promising natural sciences research talents.
Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 87 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy.
Novozymes is the world leader in bioinnovation. Together with customers across a broad array of industries we create tomorrow's industrial biosolutions, improving our customers' business and the use of our planet's resources.