Emma Frans named 2019 Alumnus of the Year

7 October 2019

Emma Frans

The Alumnus of the Year award is being presented this year to researcher, author, popular educator and science writer Emma Frans for her “tireless work to increase the resistance to misleading facts and fake news”.

Each year Uppsala University presents the Alumnus of the Year distinction to a former student who has made “outstanding contributions in their career or achieved other noteworthy accomplishments”. This year the honour goes to Emma Frans, a postdoctoral researcher in medical epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet, an author, popular educator, lecturer and science writer.

“I am very happy to receive this honour and to be recognised by Uppsala University. After all, Uppsala University is where it all began. This is where I laid the foundation for my career,” Emma Frans says. “My education in Uppsala gave me a good and broad foundation to stand on. This has been of great benefit to me today as I familiarise myself with many different areas.”

Emma Frans studied biomedicine at Uppsala University, where she also received her Master of Medical Science degree in 2006. She defended her doctoral thesis in medical epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet in 2013.

“I still live in Uppsala, and I have always liked Uppsala and Uppsala University. So who knows? The Alumnus of the Year award may be the start of a new contact and collaboration with Uppsala University!”

In addition to conducting research, Emma Frans is currently an author and science writer. In 2017 she received the Swedish Grand Prize for Journalism award in the category “Voice of the Year” with the explanatory statement: “For combating the resistance to facts in such an entertaining manner and with scientific precision exposing the internet’s incessant myths”. The same year the Swedish Sceptics Society (VoF) named her Popular Enlightener of the Year, an award she also received in 2019 from SV, the foundation for adult education, for combating disinformation and resistance to facts.

Emma Frans’s “Science Watch” column in Svenska Dagbladet deals with current topics and claims from a scientific perspective. In 2018 she became associated with SVT, the Swedish national public television broadcaster, as a science expert on SVT News Online, and the same year she was appointed a Democracy Ambassador by the Swedish government – an assignment intended to promote, entrench and defend democracy in Sweden.

From the award citation:
“Emma Frans reaches far beyond the academic world and has found her niche by speaking in a simple, clear, easily understandable and entertaining way about widely diverse fields, but always on a disciplinary foundation. She is a modern popular educator who navigates smoothly among traditional media, public appearances and social media. She works to strengthen the position of science in the public debate and people’s ability to handle the vast amount of information and claims that always surround us. She combats the spread of rumours by emphasising the scientific position and a source-critical approach. Emma Frans is a good role model for students by working tirelessly to increase resistance to misleading facts and fake news.”

The award will be presented on 3 March 2020 in conjunction with a lecture by Emma Frans at the Humanities Theatre in Uppsala. The lecture is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend.