3 December 2019

Professor Carsten Rahbek Receives Award for Research into Earth’s Biodiversity

Research Award

This year, the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs’ annual research award within natural sciences and technology goes to Carsten Rahbek, Professor at Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen. With the award follows DKK 50,000.

Professor Carstn Rahbek

For 25 years, Professor Carsten Rahbek, Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, has researched Earth's biodiversity. That research is now being rewarded with the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs’ research award, accompanied by an amount of DKK 50,000.

He receives the award within the field of natural sciences and technology. It is an important recognition, says Carsten Rahbek, who calls it ‘a collegial pat on the shoulder’.

The justification of the award reads, in part, as follows: ‘Carsten Rahbek possesses a formidable combination of deep scientific insight into the diversity of life, excellent communication skills and a deep societal engagement.’

‘It means a lot for my research credentials to be recognised in this manner. I am working on something that has become highly topical with the biodiversity crisis and the climate change. Therefore, I believe that when we gain knowledge that is relevant to such great and important things in society, it is an obligation for us to take the time to communicate and disseminate it. I am very pleased that also this aspect is recognised,’ says Carsten Rahbek, who heads the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, which is part of the Globe Institute.

Mountains as a Common Thread

As a researcher, Carsten Rahbek has been driven by curiosity and by challenging ‘what we believe we know’. A common thread throughout his research career all the way from his PhD and until today has been the work on mountains and their significance for the biodiversity.

Most recently, Carsten Rahbek and his research colleagues have published two articles in the scientific journal Science this fall. Here, they, among other things, mapped the biodiversity in all mountainous regions on Earth.

 ‘I work extensively on what determines life on Earth, especially with focus on the mountains. My ambition is to reveal the basic laws of nature. This fall, we made a big move in this direction with our latest publications.’

‘One of the things we show is that we are stuck in the wrong belief about the way life on Earth is distributed. It turns a lot of things upside down, including the way in which climate change affects biodiversity on Earth,’ says Carsten Rahbek.

Among other things, Carsten Rahbek and his colleagues showed that mountainous areas have an incredibly varied biodiversity and are home to 85 percent of the world's amphibians, birds and mammals.

Earlier this year, he received a grant from the Villum Foundation of DKK 40 million to continue his research within this area.

The Danish Association of Masters and PhDs' research awards are presented to researchers who have conducted excellent research. Besides, it is deemed important that the researchers disseminate their research to the general population.

Each year, the Association hands out two research awards, within natural sciences/technology and social sciences/the humanities, respectively.

The two awards will be presented at a ceremony at the beginning of the new year. Read more about the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs here.


Professor Carsten Rahbek, (+45) 35321030, crahbek@bio.ku.dk

Press Officer, (+45) 93565911, cecilie.krabbe@sund.ku.dk