The Letten Prize Days

Welcome to the Letten Prize days 12-13 September!

The Young Academy of Norway and the Letten Foundation are delighted to invite you to the Letten Seminar on 12 September and the Letten Award Ceremony on 13 September, both taking place at Gamle Festsal, at the University of Oslo. The events are open to the public and free to attend. For practical purposes, registration is required. Please register using the registration link.  

Gamle Festsal

Gamle Festsal. Photo: University of Oslo



13.00-14.45 SESSION 1 

Welcome by Asta Busingye Lydersen, master of ceremony.

Lecture: Astrocytes: the brain’s housekeepers during wake and sleep by Erlend Nagelhus

This lecture provides an opportunity to become familiar with the continuation of Letten F. Saugstand’s research.

Panel conversation: Using research to solve global challenges

Asta Busingye Lydersen will chair a panel conversation with the winner of the 2018 Letten Prize, Tarunabh Khaitan, and two of the runners-up Robert Aldridge and Nassim El Achi. The panel will give you insights into their work as well as how they believe research can be used to solve global challenges.

Khaitan is a legal scholar specializing in equality and disclination law. His work has already had an impact on the drafting of the Anti-Discrimination and Equality Bill, presented by Shashi Tharoor MP in India’s Parliament, and UK supreme court and by the European Court of Human Rights. He will use the prize to set up Indian Equality Law Program at Melbourne Law School. Read more about Tarunabh Khaitan.

Aldridge fields of research are epidemiology, public health, migration, and data science and his worked is directed towards international migrants. While trained as a chemist, El Achi has since retrained in water management. Her current field of research focuses on the implementation of rainwater harvesting in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon. Read more about Aldridge and El Achi.

14.45-15.15 COFFEE BREAK

15.15-17.30 SESSION 2

Lecture: Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change: Is “Research as Usual” Sufficient? by Karen O’Brien

This lecture addresses the role of research — and researchers — in meeting the important goal of limiting global warming by the end of this century to below 2°C.

Shortnote:  Crop evolution in the Anthropocene. By Ola Westengen

Using the crop maize as a case, this lecture illustrates the continuity and change in the human-plant relationship during the early and late Anthropocene.

Shortnote: Authoritarian Inclusion? A Sociological Approach to the Study of Political Regimes by Anna Lisa Ahlers

Using China as a case, this lecture addresses whether we possess sufficient theoretical and analytical tools for the study of modern authoritarianism in all its forms, facets and dynamics.

Lecture: Global Inequality and Development in an Age of Climate Breakdown by Jason Hickel

This lecture takes a closer look at global inequality and addresses ‘what are the prospects for development in the Anthropocene’?




The award ceremony takes place at 14.00 and finishes no later than 15.00. The ceremony celebrates the winner of the 2018 Letten Prize and will include:

  • A brief introduction to Letten F. Saugstad and her life and work.
  • A statement from the committee.
  • An interview with the winner of the 2018 Letten Prize, Tarunabh Khaitan, and Asta Busingye Lydersen.
  • Music from music students at Barratt Due Institute of Music.

Asta Busingye Lydersen is the master of ceremony. More information will follow.