Søren Staugaard Nielsen

Managing Director

T: +45 51 61 78 86

What you need to know to apply 

Recognising that urban mental health issues are complex, we encourage early-career researchers from a range of disciplines and backgrounds to apply for the award. Cross-sectoral and cross-cultural insights and tools are needed to tackle the growing problem of mental distress that impacts people living in cities today. 

As such, the award aims to attract a wide range of research talent from within the disciplines of architecture, engineering, sociology, psychology, public health, urban design, and urban planning.

Regardless of discipline, it is vital that the applicant’s proposed or on-going research:  

  • Examines the relationship of city and/or neighbourhood-scale mental wellbeing 
  • Explores interactions between mental health and the integration of nature in cities 
  • Defines key drivers and/or barriers for promoting mental wellbeing in cities 
  • Provides methods, tools, or outcomes that are replicable, scalable, and applicable in diverse urban environments 

The Flemming Bligaard Award aims to uncover new knowledge and applicable sustainable solutions that provide knowledge to society. Former Ramboll CEO, Flemming Bligaard Pedersen, stepped down as chair of the Ramboll Foundation in 2020. To honour Flemming’s 44 years of service, the Ramboll Foundation created a EUR 65,000 award for an early-career researcher whose work represents extraordinary contributions to sustainable development.  

The 2022 Flemming Bligaard Award for early-career researchers will go to a researcher working with the theme “Mental wellbeing in cities”. The Award includes a prize of EUR 65,000 to cover cost of relevant research.  

Get the application details here and apply before the 10 October deadline. The award will be given in November 2022. 

Will your research make a difference to the mental wellbeing of people in cities? 

More than four billion people live in cities today, and nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2040. Yet city dwellers have an almost 40% higher risk of depression, are over 20% more anxious, and are more lonely, isolated, and stressed than rural populations according to the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health. 

A population’s health and well-being are affected not only by disease and treatment, but also by environmental, economic, and social factors such as housing, poverty, and education. Social media and accelerating digitalisation are also affecting people’s lives. 

To achieve resilient and sustainable cities, inhabitants need to work productively, contribute to the community, and cope well with the stresses of life. The mental health and wellbeing of people is linked inseparable to the success of cities. In fact, mental health was defined a priority in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. It goes hand-in-hand with restoring nature and mitigating climate change when it comes to meeting the needs of local communities.  

Therefore, in 2022, the Ramboll Foundation’s Flemming Bligaard Award is calling on early-career researchers to submit their ground-breaking research within the theme “Mental wellbeing in cities.” 

“Mental health is an often invisible and neglected aspect in developing cities and urban environments. It’s critical we address this gap as global urban populations rise, so cities can develop in sustainable ways that meet the needs of people, nature, and communities,” says Søren Staugaard Nielsen, MD, Ramboll Foundation. “The Foundation is honoured to once again support the best and brightest research talent by way of the Flemming Bligaard Award.” 

Previous winners 

Anne Lyck Smitshuysen of the Technical University of Denmark won in 2021 for her research into scaling up the production of green hydrogen, which can displace fossil fuel-based energy and speed up the transition to renewable energy. Her research could help cut production costs by 15% and ramp up deployment of green hydrogen.   

Colin Rose won the inaugural award in 2020 for his research on how to replace concrete and steel with cross-laminated secondary timber (CLST), which is made out of layers of reclaimed wood. Use of CLST avoids carbon emissions, as it contains less than half the embodied carbon of concrete and has a carbon-negative impact when sequestration is considered. 

With these research parameters, we hope to enable the practical global adoption of your research’s methods, tools, or outcomes. 

Download the application form here 
Application deadline: 10 October 2022. 
For details about the application process contact: Søren Staugaard Nielsen, MD