News from AAU Energy

Henrik Kofoed Nielsen - Guest Researcher at AAU Energy

Henrik Kofoed Nielsen - Guest Researcher at AAU Energy

As a Guest Researcher at AAU Energy, Henrik has spent the last year having focus on his research but also learning about different ways of managing a department as well as developing stronger connections with other researchers.

Who are you, and what is your background?

I have worked at the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway, for 30 years, primarily in the field of bioenergy which is a big interest of mine. I guess it can be related to my childhood on Bornholm growing up on a farm.

What do you do at AAU Energy?

I have been at AAU Energy since August 1st last year. My field of research is quite broad, and I have worked on different projects while being here. My main project is in continuation of my previous work on energy crops and regards the melting temperature of ash, but I have also spent some of my time as a PhD-supervisor while still fulfilling my different roles from back home at the Department of Engineering Sciences at the University of Agder.

What has the purpose been?

The main purpose of my stay in Aalborg has been to prune down the many tasks and different meetings I must attend to in Norway. At the same time, it has been beneficial and interesting to be part of a scientific environment with colleagues available for professional discussions whenever we meet during lunch break or at the coffee machine.

How was it arranged?

It began 20 years ago when I needed an external examiner and I got in touch with Lasse Rosendahl at AAU. We have been in contact with one another for different purposes ever since, and so I asked him and head of section Henrik Sørensen if I could stay and conduct research for a year. This was possible I was granted a sabbatical research leave. I have always been part of different exchange programs and have visited AAU several times in this regard, but it has always been for a maximum of two consecutive weeks. 

How has the experience been?

It has been a great experience scientifically and regarding research. For me personally it has also been nice to live in Aalborg after living in Norway for many years. I have family here in Jutland and Aalborg is in proximity to Kristiansand and the University of Agder, which is a plus. AAU was also the obvious choice because of the long-standing cooperation between the universities.

Which experiences, both scientific and personal, did you gain?

When I first came to Denmark, I visited AAU in Esbjerg for the first time. I participated in a PhD course in which I taught sustainable forestry and learned very much from their fascinating equipment and skills. I have gained insight into different ways of conducting research and managing a department from the way it is done here, and I have attended as many meetings and seen as many different parts of the university as possible to experience and learn. For instance, I have been very interested in seeing the laboratories and how the students use them both at ENERGY and BUILD. I have also had various good social experiences, such as Unirun and DHL-run, which were a lot of fun to partake in while being another opportunity of getting to know colleagues.

Is it something you would recommend to others?

Absolutely. It has been very beneficial for me to be close to different relevant researchers at other departments as well as developing relationships and establishing contacts. It has been a pleasure to focus on my research and I bring various realizations and new knowledge with me home. I have always travelled a lot to other university and colleges, and this was yet another way for me to learn.