Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters

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The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters (Norwegian: Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskab, DKNVS) is a learned society based in Trondheim, Norway.


DKNVS was founded in 1760 by bishop of Nidaros Johan Ernst Gunnerus, headmaster at the Trondheim Cathedral School Gerhard Schøning and Councillor of State Peter Frederik Suhm under the name Det Trondhiemske Selskab (the Trondheim Society). From 1761 it published academic papers in a series titled Skrifter. It was the northernmost learned society in the world, and was established in a time when Norway did not have universities or colleges.[1][2]

It received the royal affirmation of its statutes on 17 July 1767,[3] and was given its present name at a ceremony on 29 January 1788, the king's birthday.[4] In 1771, when Johann Friedrich Struensee took over the de facto rule of Denmark-Norway, Johan Ernst Gunnerus was summoned to Copenhagen, where he was given the mission to establish a university in Norway. Gunnerus did not suggest that the university be established in Trondhjem, but in southern Christianssand (Kristiansand), due to its proximity to Jutland. If this happened, he would have the Society of Sciences and Letters moved to Christianssand, to correspond with the new university. However, the plan was never carried out. Struensee's reign ended in 1772, but he reportedly dismissed the plan before this.[1] (Kristiansand got its university in 2007.[5])

The society was housed in the premises of Trondheim Cathedral School until 1866, when it acquired its own localities.[4] Since 1903 its main task was to run a museum. In 1926 there was a split in which the museum became a separate entity, receiving the assets of the learned society. Also in 1926, another publication series Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskab Forhandlinger was inaugurated.[4] Ownership of the museum was transferred to the University of Trondheim in 1968,[6] today the Norwegian University of Science and Technology,[3] but DKNVS re-received some assets in a 1984 reorganization, and now controls these assets through the foundation DKNVSS.[6]

A history of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters was written in 1960 by Hans Midbøe, and released in two volumes.[7]

In connection with the 250th anniversary of the Society, Håkon With Andersen, Brita Brenna, Magne Njåstad, and Astrid Wale wrote an updated history.[8] Also, Arild Stubhaug wrote a shorter history, prepared for a general audience.[9]


The board of directors consists of seven people, five men and two women. It is led by praeses Steinar Supphellen and vice-praeses Kristian Fossheim. Other board members are Hanna Mustaparta, Britt Dale, Ola Dale, Joar Grimsbu and Asbjørn Moen. The daily administration is led by a secretary-general; Kristian Overskaug.[10] The board is responsible for awarding the Gunnerus Medal[11] for academic achievement.[12] The medal was inaugurated in 1927.[3]

Before 1815, the sitting King held the title of praeses, while the highest-ranked non-royal member was vice praeses. In the tradition of Gunnerus the bishop, the latter post was filled by clerics until 1820, when Christian Krohg took the seat. From 1815 the King holds the title of "protector". Today King Harald V of Norway is protector of the society.[4]

Members of the learned society are divided into two divisions, Letters and Sciences. In 2005 there were 470 members, of whom 134 were foreign.[3] This is a marked increase from 1996, when it had 399 members, of whom 94 were foreign.[4]


The society awards the following prizes

The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters annual prize for young researchers[edit]

This award is funded by IK Lykke funds. The prize is awarded to people under 35 years who are "Norwegian researchers and foreign researchers at the Norwegian research institutions that have demonstrated outstanding talent, originality and effort, and who have achieved excellent results in their fields».[13] By 2015, the awardees are

  • 2015 Ivar Berg and Steffen Oppermann
  • 2014 Andriy Bondarenko and Terje Lohndal
  • 2013 Yasser Roudi and Thersa M. Olasveengen
  • 2012 Martin Wåhlberg and Sverre Magnus Selbach
  • 2011 Thomas Hegghammer, Simen Andreas Ådnøy Ellingsen
  • 2010 Jon Hernes Fiva Petter Andreas Bergh, Jacob Linder
  • 2009 Terje Andreas Eikemo and Xavier Raynaud
  • 2008 Jill Kristin Lautgeb and Jo Jakobsen
  • 2007 Marit Sletmoen
  • 2006 Halvard Buhaug, Marianne Fyhn and Torkel Hafting Fyhn
  • 2005 Dag Trygve Truslew Haug and Sigurd Einum
  • 2004 Anne Beate Maurseth, Bård Gunnar Stokke
  • 2003 Cathrine Brun and Sigurd Weidemann Løvseth
  • 2002 Tanja Ellingsenand Øhrn Alexander
  • 2001 Marianne Ryghaug and Magne Lygren
  • 2000 Toril Aalberg and Ørjan Johansen
  • 1999 Kaja Borthen and Baard Kasa

The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters scientific annual prize[edit]

  • 2002 Johannes Skaar and Jarle Tufto
  • 2001 Jonathan W. Moses, Erlend Rønnekleiv
  • 2000 Rolf Hobson
  • 1999 May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser
  • 1998 Jarle André Haugan,
  • 1997 Magne Sætersdal and Baard Pedersen
  • 1996 Stig Arild Slørdahl and Geir Johnsen
  • 1995 Jon Thomas Kringlebotn and Tor Grande
  • 1993 Tor Anders Åfarli and Halvor Kjørholt
  • 1992 Øyvind Solberg and Eirik Helseth
  • 1991 Tore C. Stiles and Jarle Hjelen
  • 1990 Yngvar Olsen and Karin Gjøl Hagen
  • 1989 Arne Sandvik and Bernt-Erik Saether
  • 1988 Dagfinn Berntzen and Berit Kjeldstad,
  • 1987 Håkon With Andersen and Randi Eidsmo Reinertsen
  • 1986 Lisa Jacobsen and Jarle Mork
  • 1985 Jan Ragnar Hagland, Eivin Røskaft and Trond E. Ellingsen
  • 1984 Linda R. White, Terje Espevik

Gunnerus Sustainability Award[edit]

The Gunnerus Sustainability Award is a Norwegian research prize awarded biannually, starting in 2012, for outstanding scientific work that promotes sustainable development globally. The prize is awarded by the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters in collaboration with Sparebanken Midt-Norge and the foundation Technoport. It is named after the Norwegian scientist and bishop Johan Ernst Gunnerus, and consists of a cash award of 1,000,000 Norwegian kroner.

The first laureate was announced in February 2012, and the prize was handed over the 17 April in Olavshallen in Trondheim, Norway during the conference Technoport 2012.[14][15]


Heads of the society[edit]

This is a list of the heads of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters:[4]

Protector (praeses until 1815)
Praeses (vice praeses until 1815)


  1. ^ a b Collett, John Peter (1999). Historien om Universitetet i Oslo (in Norwegian). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. pp. 14–16. ISBN 82-00-12937-3. 
  2. ^ [1] Lederartikel i Morgenbladet fra 5.mars 2010 til DKNVS 250-års jubileum
  3. ^ a b c d Henriksen, Petter, ed. (2007). "Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskab". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 7 June 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Bratberg, Terje (1996). "Vitenskapsselskapet". In Arntzen, Jon Gunnar. Trondheim byleksikon. Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. pp. 599–600. ISBN 82-573-0642-8. 
  5. ^ Henriksen, Petter, ed. (2007). "Universitetet i Agder". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 7 June 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Bratberg, Terje (1996). "Vitenskapsmuseet". In Arntzen, Jon Gunnar. Trondheim byleksikon. Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. pp. 598–599. ISBN 82-573-0642-8. 
  7. ^ Henriksen, Petter, ed. (2007). "Hans Midbøe". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 7 June 2009. 
  8. ^ Andersen, Håkon With; Brenna, Brita; Njåstad, Magne; Wale, Astrid (2008). Aemula Lauri – The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, 1760–2010. Science History Publications. ISBN 978-0-88135-383-9. 
  9. ^ Stubhaug, Arild (2010). Den lange linjen – Historien om Videnskabsselskabet i Trondheim (in Norwegian). Trondheim: Tapir Akademisk Forlag. ISBN 978-82-519-2523-5. 
  10. ^ "Board/administration". Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters. Archived from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2007. 
  11. ^ Yngvar Reichelt (in Norwegian): Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskabs medaljer. Sic nos: non nobis. Akademika forlag 2013.
  12. ^ "Priser og utmerkelser" (in Norwegian). Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters. Retrieved 7 June 2007. [dead link]
  13. ^ Oversikt vitenskapelige priser
  14. ^ a b Normannsen, Sølvi Waterloo (2012-02-17). "Indisk biolog får den nye Gunnerusprisen". Universitas (in Norwegian). 
  15. ^ a b " "Indian-born Kamal Bawa bags maiden Gunnerus Sustainability Award". The Hindu. 2012-02-18. 

External links[edit]