Four female researchers at Aarhus BSS receive DKK 11.5 million

The Independent Research Fund Denmark has donated DKK 11,501,620 to researchers from Aarhus BSS. The grants are part of the Inge Lehmann programme, the purpose of which is to promote gender equality in Danish research.

The four recipients from Aarhus BSS are assistant professor of political science Merete Bech Seeberg, associate professor of economics Mette Trier Damgaard, senior researcher from the National Centre for Register-based Research Julie Werenberg Dreier and assistant professor in econometrics Chen Huang. Each grant is of approximately DKK 2.9 million for non-earmarked research.

Assistant professor in political science Merete Bech Seeberg has received DKK 2,879,999 for the project 'Women in politics in Africa'. She will examine whether the quality of elections affect women's political representation. The literature has pointed to many barriers to women’s entry into politics, but has neglected to study the effect of free and fair elections – the cornerstone of democracy. The absence of free and fair elections affects women more severely than men as it inhibits both the supply of women candidates and voters’ demand for women in politics. In order to shed light on this subject, she will use election observations, interviews and survey experiments.

"First and foremost, I am really looking forward to getting started on the project. It is such a privilege to receive funding for research into the exact topics that I find to be the most exciting and relevant. In this project, I have focused on the things that interest me in terms of research. But I have also focused heavily on developing a project in which the questions I ask – and the answers we receive – will hopefully serve to promote women’s representation and democratic development. It feels very motivating," Merete Bech Seeberg says about receiving the grant, adding:

"Naturally, the importance of such a grant for my research career is not to be underestimated. Besides securing employment for a couple of years, the grant also provides me with unique opportunities for bringing my international network together in Aarhus and carrying out relatively expensive data collections in Africa, allowing me to get a lot of experience with research management.”

Associate professor of economics Mette Trier Damgaard has received DKK 2,878,978 for the project 'Behavioural sources and mediators of health inequality'. She will investigate the sources of social inequality in health outcomes in socially deprived neighbourhoods. These have seen both high infection numbers and low vaccine take-up in connection with the corona crisis. The project examines the sources among Danish families with a type 1 diabetic child. This is an ideal setting for the study in a research perspective because the diagnosis itself is nearly random and not related to lifestyle, whereas interventions to combat the disease are.

"With the support of the Inge Lehmann grant, I can finance the data collection and bring researchers with different academic backgrounds together. I am looking forward to this task. On a more general level, the grant will contribute to a greater understanding of the sources of undesirable behaviour and tools for influencing behaviour. These are research topics I am personally interested in, and for this reason, I am very pleased that I can continue to study this area in depth and develop my personal career as a researcher, nationally as well as internationally,” Mette Trier Damgaard says about receiving the grant.

Associate professor Niels Skipper from the Department of Economics and Business Economics is also part of Mette Trier Damgaard's project, just like Jannet Svensson (University of Copenhagen and Herlev Hospital) and Justin Sydnor (University of Wisconsin – Maddison).

Senior researcher at the National Centre for Register-based Research Julie Werenberg Dreier has received DKK 2,876,575 for the project 'Maternal and childhood epilepsy and their implications for neurodevelopment'. The project uses the nation-wide registers in Denmark and the Nordic countries for examining whether antiseizure medication affects the learning of children. The results of the study will generate new insights on a high international level and could contribute to the treatment of pregnant women and children with epilepsy.

"I am really pleased to have received this grant from the Inge Lehmann programme, which enables me to study how epilepsy and antiseizure medication used in pregnancy and childhood impact the learning and cognitive development of children. In the project, we will benefit from the many Danish and Nordic registers, and the extensive data material will provide us with some unique opportunities for examining these issues, which are some of the greatest sources of concern in families with one or more family members suffering from epilepsy,” says Julie Werenberg Dreier.

Assistant professor in econometrics and statistics Chen Huang has received DKK 2,866,068 for her project ’New Methods for Tail Dependency Analysis with High-dimensional Time Series’. The aim of the project is to develop new methods better suited for analysing the high-dimensional tail dependency network, which is driven by extreme events, for instance crises in financial markets. The methods can be used for systemic risk measurement, predictability tests and for demonstrating spillover effects across high-dimensional objects under extreme risk.

“I worked for the last five years on tasks relevant in spirit to this project, namely on the high-dimensional statistical inference with dependent data. Now I am excited to broaden and deepen the study to tail dependency analysis both theoretically and empirically. In particular, with the support of the funding, large-scale data analysis can be carried out with high performance computing platform. The grant can also finance to disseminate the work at international conferences and communicate with external researchers during academic visits.

I anticipate the application of the project will be attractive for the practitioners to conduct relevant empirical studies that are of obvious interest in the tail risk management,” says Chen Huang.

About the Inge Lehmann programme

The Independent Research Fund Denmark’s Inge Lehmann programme is named after the internationally recognised Danish seismologist Inge Lehmann (1888-1993), who fought the male-dominated research environment in Denmark in the 1920s.

“The programme is open to all fields of study and to both men and women. But based on dispensation under section 3 of the Gender Equality Act, the Independent Research Fund Denmark will generally choose female rather than male applicants in cases where both are equally qualified. However, this is done in a way that includes an objective assessment which takes into account all special criteria concerning the applicants, regardless of gender,” the grant call for the Inge Lehmann programme 2021 states.

Early career applicants with the potential for conducting research and research management at a high international level may apply for the grant. The maximum size of the grant is DKK 2 million, excluding overhead.