20 November 2017

Research talents propose solutions for global challenges


Three-hundred talented life science students from seven of Europe's top universities assembled for "Global Challenges – The Impact of Life Sciences", a conference at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Science, to propose new knowledge and solutions for the many global challenges facing society.

23-year-old Albert Fuglsang-Madsen presented his project on antibiotic resistance.

Global challenges abound. Food security, climate change, increased consumption of antibiotics and pollution are just a few.

As a result, 300 talented students from seven of Europe's top natural and life sciences universities gathered to participate in the "Global Challenges – The Impact of Life Sciences" conference at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Science held on the 17-18 November 2017. Students presented research projects that addressed current global issues during the weekend conference.   

"One of a researcher’s primary tasks is to tackle major societal challenges. Throughout the conference, we raised awareness and shared insights of challenges, for the day when these young people are independent and need to assemble their own bodies of research," states Associate Professor Keld Ejdrup Markedal of SCIENCE’s Department of Food Science, a member of the conference jury panel.

At 23, a step closer to curing antibiotic resistance

Currently underway with a graduate degree in biochemistry, Albert Fuglsang-Madsen was one of the students allowed to present his research project. During a stay at the University of Melbourne, Australia, he discovered that his work with antibiotic resistance lead him to three genes able to help regulate the cell walls of resistant cells, thus making them responsive to antibiotics.

"It is important for me to work with something useful. Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem and new research is going to help many people around the world,” says Albert Fuglsang Madsen. Eventually, he would like to develop a revolutionary breakthrough in medicine.   

Communication and networks

Finding inspiration in the various projects and networking with other students is another aspect of the conference, one that could lead to future collaborators. Student projects are reviewed ahead of the conference and the best are selected for presentation. But project content and results are not the only focus. Dissemination of the presentation and written materials are also looked at.

"It's about how well they perform and how their results are communicated. In many ways, the conference serves as a dry run for large international conferences,” according to Keld Ejdrup Markedal. 

Presentations are evaluated by an evaluation committee that distributes 14 different awards.