China’s future president personally honours Danish researcher

On Friday 18 January, future President Xi Jinping is bestowing the highest Chinese honour in the natural sciences, the International Science and Technology Cooperation Award of the People's Republic of China, on Flemming Besenbacher, professor of nanoscience at Aarhus University and chairman of the Board of Directors of Carlsberg A/S and the Carlsberg Foundation.

Today, China is a driving global research dynamo, especially within the natural sciences and technology. Over the past decade, the Chinese budget has, according to the journal Nature, increased by 20 per cent a year, only surpassed by the United States. In China, the Danish professor Flemming Besenbacher is  widely recognised for his contribution to developing and strengthening Chinese nano research, which has close links to iNANO (the Interdisciplinary Research Center) at Aarhus University and which Flemming Besenbacher founded only eleven years ago. Today, iNANO is one of Aarhus University’s flagship research initiatives.


The award is being presented at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People where the Chinese parliament’s official ceremonies and meetings are held. According to the Chinese government, the award is the highest science and technology prize which can be awarded to a foreigner in China. In connection with the ceremony, an interview has been arranged with Flemming Besenbacher and several of the main Chinese news media including the English language newspaper China Daily, which has a circulation of half a million.


During his long research career, Professor Flemming Besenbacher has received several highly prestigious honorary awards for his contribution to strengthening research collaboration between Denmark and China. In September 2012, Flemming Besenbacher received The People's Republic of China Friendship Award. The Friendship Award is presented by the Chinese State Council once a year to 40 foreign experts in recognition of their extraordinary contribution to China's economic and social development. Earlier in 2012, the Danish professor received the highest academic distinction for foreigners from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the so-called Award for International Scientific Cooperation.

And back in 2009, Flemming Besenbacher was awarded the Chinese Academy of Sciences'  Einstein Professorship. In all three cases, he was the first Dane to receive these highly distinguished honorary awards.

Flemming Besenbacher also holds honorary doctorates from ten Chinese universities.


About Flemming Besenbacher:

Dr Flemming Besenbacher is a professor of physics and nanoscience at the Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University. Until the end of 2011 he was director of Aarhus University's interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO). Today, Dr Besenbacher is chairman of the Board of Directors of Carlsberg A/S and of the Carlsberg Foundation.


About the International Science and Technology Cooperation Award of the People's Republic of China:

The Chinese Government's International Science and Technology Cooperation Award of the People's Republic of China is one of the State Science and Technology Prizes, the highest honours in the People's Republic of China in science and technology to be conferred on citizens and organisations who have made remarkable contributions to scientific and technological progress, and to promote the development of science and technology. The State Council enacted the Regulations on the State Science and Technology Prizes and established five state prizes in science and technology. The State Highest Science and Technology Award is awarded by the state president.


Learn more about iNANO: Nanoscience moves into its own house


Further information:


Professor Flemming Besenbacher,

Mobile: +45 2338 2204,

Email: <link>


Anders Correll, Head of Press Affairs,

Mobile: +45 2899 2235