Maren Anna Brandsrud awarded

In her dissertation, which Brandsrud wrote at the Faculty of Science and Technology, she developed a new theoretical approach to describe light absorption in thin-film solar cells with nanostructures. Brandsrud's theory explains the mechanisms of light absorption using a beam model, which shows that when the beams show a chaotic dynamic, the absorption will increase. Using this model, she was able to link phenomena such as chaotic classical dynamics to an increase in light absorption caused by resonances in the wave function.

Her work transfers the models that were developed within solar cells to a topic that is highly relevant to life sciences, where one uses infrared spectroscopy to characterize chemical structural properties in cells and tissues by absorption of infrared light. Infrared spectroscopy is a method that is used today in all areas of life sciences, as it makes it possible to characterize biological material in its original form without destroying the structure.

Original work with great relevance for renewable energy and life sciences

The results from Brandsrud's research can be used in several areas where a basic understanding of light scattering and absorption is crucial to characterize different types of materials and living organisms. Her work can therefore have an impact on several strategic subject areas at NMBU, including food science, plant science and solar cell research. A unanimous committee decided that the Inspiration Award should go to Brandsrud and gives her close to top score on all the criteria for the award. The committee states:

"We are very impressed with Maren Anna Brandsrud's doctoral work and research, which maintains a very high theoretical level, is original, and of great relevance to both renewable energy and life sciences."

 Brandsrud was nominated for the Inspiration Award by Professor Achim Kohler, for her doctoral work “Scattering and Absorption in Nano- and Microstructured Media».

 Brandsrud received the award and 100,000 NOK during a simple ceremony at NMBU on 8 September. Congratulations!


Maren Anna Brandsrud and Siri Fjellheim, prorector research and innovation at NMBU. Alf Bjørseth Inspiration Award 2021.

Maren Anna Brandsrud and Siri Fjellheim, prorector research and innovation at NMBU. Alf Bjørseth Inspiration Award 2021.

Eivind Norum


This year’s other nominees were:

Kim Erik Grashei

Kim Erik Grashei at the Faculty of Biosciences has been nominated for his doctoral dissertation «Genomic methods in breeding programs: Parental assignment, triploid genomics and case-parental control modeling». Grasheim has developed a new method for kinship identification of farmed salmon, which is used, among other things, to trace escaped farmed salmon back to the breeder, so that genetic influence on wild salmon can be prevented. Furthermore, he addressed the kinship arrangement in triploid, sterile salmon, which has not been possible so far. Grashei and others also developed a methodology that makes it possible to calculate breeding values for disease resistance based on dead fish from natural outbreaks. This can lead to less use of infection tests that cause the fish suffering. Grashei's work provides better utilization of genomic data in fish farming, and the results of the research will contribute to making Norwegian fish farming more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Eirik Ogner Jåstad

Eirik Ogner Jåstad was nominated for his doctoral thesis at the Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management “Assessments of the future role of bioenergy in the Nordic energy and forest sectors”. He used mathematical models to look at the role of bioenergy in the future energy system in the Nordic countries. A key element is the competition for biomass for various energy uses and for material use in the forest industry.

Perhaps the most important result from Jåstad's studies is that it is possible to produce significant amounts of biofuel, but that this reduces the supply of biomass to district heating and to the traditional forest industry. Jåstad also shows the greenhouse gas effects of various energy uses of biomass and how this is affected by changes in the energy sector.

Min Lin

Min Lin is nominated for his doctorate at the Faculty of Biosciences "Genetic studies of the wheat-Parastagonospora nodorum pathosystem". Wheat ear spot is the most important leaf disease on wheat in Norway. The disease is the cause of symptoms on both leaves and ears can cause crop losses of up to 30% in hot and humid conditions. Min Lin's doctoral degree is about mapping the interaction between the disease organism and different wheat varieties and the possibilities for resistance breeding. Through her research, she has identified "tools" that can be used by the plant breeding industry in the development of disease-resistant cereals. The doctoral work therefore contributes to reduced use of pesticides and to Norwegian grain production becoming more environmentally friendly

Published 17. September 2021 - 13:36 - Updated 18. September 2021 - 8:20