The FNR Awards showcase research and innovation work, and reward the winners and the institutions where they work. This annual celebration of science in Luxembourg was held on 19 October 2023 and prizes were awarded in four different categories.
Annual awards - FNR Awards
Since 2009, the FNR has been awarding prizes in order to nurture communication between researchers and promote scientific activities aimed at the general public and young people.
In 2023, the prize categories were as follows:
- Outstanding PhD Thesis: this prize is awarded to an individual who has completed their PhD with a thesis of outstanding scientific quality.
- Outstanding Scientific Achievement: this prize was a new feature of the 2021 edition, combining the former categories of Outstanding Scientific Publication and Outstanding Research-based Innovation. As such, the FNR wants to shine a light on the research teams and draw attention to the work of passionate individuals who are working to generate an impact in the fields of science and society.
- Outstanding Promotion of Science to the Public: this prize can be awarded to individuals, institutions or non-profit associations that have successfully contributed to promoting science in the public domain in Luxembourg.
- Outstanding Mentor: this prize was also a new feature of the 2021 edition. The objective was to recognise the important but sometimes under-appreciated role of mentors in the field of research. In fact, good mentoring goes further than just nurturing professional scientific development, as it conveys the values of integrity, credibility and diversity in new independent researchers.
Three questions to Didier Goossens, Communications Manager at FNR
This year, the FNR Awards celebrate their 15th anniversary. What was the reason for creating this successful event in the first place? Why is such an event still so important today?
In 2009, the FNR Awards were presented for the first time. During that period, the FNR's main objective was to reward communication initiatives in the field of science. At the initial awards ceremony, there were two prize categories: Outstanding Promotion of Science to the Public and Outstanding Scientific Publication. The first category rewarded science and technology communication initiatives. The second category recognised the work of scientists whose excellent publications contribute to the advancement of knowledge worldwide and raise the global profile of research in Luxembourg. In 2012, a new category (Outstanding PhD Thesis), honouring an outstanding doctoral thesis, was added to the prizes awarded. The FNR currently hands out awards in four separate categories. The event clearly remains very important today because it gives public research a certain level of visibility, even in the media, where research is perhaps usually less prevalent.
Over the years, many different researchers and research projects have won awards. Were there one or two projects that particularly stood out from the crowd?
It's difficult to single out one project or another, as all the projects were granted an FNR Award, irrespective of category. They overcame the challenge of other projects and won awards owing to their quality. I invite those who are curious or interested to visit our website, where short videos shine a spotlight on the winners in the various categories.
How have the FNR Awards evolved over the years? And what new features can we expect in the future?
Over the years, the FNR Awards ceremony has grown in prominence. We were forced to cancel the event in 2020 due to Covid-19 but we quickly rose to the challenge by turning it into a digital event in the style of a television programme. In 2021, we kept the hybrid format, which actually increased the number of viewers and attendees quite significantly. This was also a result of moving the event to a venue that could accommodate more people. For the 14th edition, we have consolidated the format that we introduced last year. However, it goes without saying that in upcoming editions, we will no doubt come up with even more ideas to surprise our guests. Keep your eyes peeled for more news nearer the time!
Did you know?
The National Research Fund is a leading stakeholder in research culture in Luxembourg, which is international, interdisciplinary and sustainable in its scope.
The FNR invests public funds and private donations in research projects in various branches of science and humanities, focusing on certain strategic areas, such as strengthening the link between science and society and raising awareness of research. It also advises the Luxembourg government on its research policy and strategy.
Open access is vital for accelerating the process of innovation in universities while raising the profile of research results. For this reason, the Luxembourg National Library, the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) and the National Research Fund (FNR) have strengthened their commitment to open access by signing a publishing agreement with the open access publisher Frontiers.
The narrative CV for researchers is another project managed by the FNR. These curricula raise the profile of the skills and abilities of researchers, rather than simply offering a chronological list of publications. They can be tailored to each proposal, by drawing attention to the achievements and experiences of which the researchers are most proud and can even include a personal statement.