Gunnar Bjursell awarded for his research on the importance of culture

Professor Emeritus Gunnar Bjursell received the Bernadotte Award on 10 April. He is awarded the prize for his many years of research and major educational efforts on cultural engagement and its effects on the brain, well-being and health.

Gunnar Bjursell, professor emeritus at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, has been involved in research on culture, brain and health in Sweden for decades. Around 35 years of work are now being celebrated with the Bernadotte Award 2024.

The award is part of the Berndatotte Program which is a collaboration between the five royal academies. The prize money is SEK 200,000.

Gunnar Bjursell gave a speech of thanks.

Gunnar Bjursell gave a speech of thanks. Photo: Björn Strömfeldt/Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts.

“To have been selected by five royal academies as Bernadotte Prize laureates for my work with the scientifically based message about the great importance of culture for both lifelong learning and well-being feels extremely honourable and confidence-building,” says Gunnar Bjursell. I hope that the prize will stimulate the establishment of strong Swedish basic scientific research in the field.”

Gunnar Bjursell has, among other things, taken the initiative to form the Forum for Public and Science, which created the basis for the popular International Science Festival in Gothenburg.

In 2011, he was given the opportunity to establish the Centre for Culture, Cognition and Health at Karolinska Institutet and the project “The Cultural Brain” with a web portal for current research and development.

Five academies behind the Bernadotte Award

The Bernadotte Award was established in 2023 by the King. The Academy for the Free Arts (Arts Academy), Royal Vitterhetsakademien, Royal The Academy of Music, the Swedish Academy and the Royal Gustav Adolfs Academy for Swedish Folk Culture in connection with the commemoration of HM the King’s 50 years on the throne.

The award is part of the Bernadotte program and is to be presented annually to a researcher, artist, organization or institution that over a long period of time has contributed to public education or social development in the field of culture, cultural heritage, art and aesthetics.

Source: Royal Vitterhetsakademien

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