Nobel Prize for Physiology to Norway

May-Britt and Edvard Moser. Photo: Geir Mogen / NTNU

Nobel Prize for Physiology to Norway

May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser are the first Nordic winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine since 2000

The Mosers, a Norwegian husband-wife team, share the prize with US-British researcher John O’Keefe “for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain”. This is the thirteenth time the Nobel Prize in this field has been awarded to one or more Nordic researchers, and the first time it has been awarded to researchers in Norway.

Stig Arild Slørdahl is the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) – where the Norwegian Nobel Laureates are employed – and a member of the Joint Committee of the Nordic Medical Research Councils. He sees the award as evidence of the excellent research environment in the Nordic countries and the result of long-term investment in basic research.

“Continued focus on curiosity-driven basic research and a willingness to prioritise the best research groups are essential to continued success. The Mosers’ achievement shows how two talented researchers at the outskirts of the world can rise to the top through hard work, solid funding, good infrastructure and the backing of a university that can and is willing to put the finest researchers first.”

Ole Petter Ottersen, representative of the Association of Nordic University Rectors’ Conferences (NUS) on the NordForsk Board, also stresses the importance of a dynamic research environment and a long-term perspective. In an interview on the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation’s evening news (NRK Dagsrevyen) after the announcement of the award, Mr Ottersen had the following to say about the Nobel Laureates:

“They are members of a prominent research group built up over the course of many years. They have shown fantastic perseverance and the ability to work in the long term towards a critical goal, so the prize is the fruit of their very long, very intensive labour.” 


Press release from the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet

Interview with Ole Petter Ottersen on NRK Dagsrevyen (in Norwegian) 

Text: Eivind Sætre