A researcher in sensory biology at Lund University has won the final of the first Researcher Grand Prix in Sweden – a national competition in which competitors present their research in a very short amount of time. Marie Dacke was selected as the winner by an expert panel of judges and the audience at an event held on 4 December 2012.

Nine researchers competed against each other at the rock club Debaser Medis in Stockholm. The challenge was to explain their research in the most engaging, inspiring and educational way in just three minutes.

The finalists were all winners of regional heats held earlier in the autumn in Gothenburg, Karlshamn, Karlstad, Lund, Malmö, Södertälje, Uppsala, Växjö and Örebro as part of the Researchers’ Night science festival.

“It’s fantastic to win and it is probably the only ‘national championships’ I will ever win in my life. Universities are there to serve the community and this is a great way to inform the public about what we, researchers, do,” said Marie Dacke, who, in addition to applause from the audience, received a large trophy and a travel voucher worth 4,000 SEK.

The audience used a televoter to rate the researchers’ performances and the audience’s votes carried the same weight as those of the expert panel. The judges were actress and comedian Anna-Lena Brundin, Patrik Hadenius, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Research & Progress, and Göran Östlin, Professor of Astronomy at Stockholm University.

“Sitting on the judging panel was an enjoyable but difficult job, as all contestants were so brilliant and the judging was done in real time,” said Patrik Hadenius.

Second place went to Stina Weststrand, a PhD student at the Department of Organismal Biology at Uppsala University and third place was given to Martin Erikson Crommert, a physiotherapist and researcher in medicine at the University Hospital in Örebro. All the other contestants shared a respectable fourth place.

The Researcher Grand Prix is organised by VA (Public and Science) and other local partners with the support of the European Commission and in cooperation with a number of research councils – FAS, Formas, the Swedish Research Council and VINNOVA.

“There is no point just keeping research results in a drawer, they should be used and developed further. This competition will hopefully inspire researchers to do more to present their research,” said Mille Millnert, Director General of the Swedish Research Council, who distributed the prizes at the final.

The Researcher Grand Prix Final will be broadcast on the Swedish Knowledge Channel in January and be available on UR Play. It is planned to run the competition again in 2013.

Photogallery – Photographer Hanna Victoria Mörck – You can find Press photos here.