Ramboll Foundation announces top funding prize for research on mental wellbeing in cities

30 June 2022
Early career researchers are invited to apply for the 2022 Flemming Bligaard Award, a EUR 65,000 prize which recognises ground-breaking research that helps to improve mental health in urban environments, and enables sustainable change for the benefit of people, nature, and society.
Research on mental wellbeing in cities

Research on mental wellbeing in cities

Søren Staugaard Nielsen

Managing Director
T: +45 51 61 78 86

More than four billion people live in cities today, and by 2040 this is set to grow to nearly two-thirds of the world’s population. For cities to be truly resilient, sustainable, and liveable, the mental wellbeing of residents is paramount - inhabitants who work productively, contribute to the community, and can cope with the stresses of life are central to the success of cities, alongside nature restoration and mitigating climate change.

Against this backdrop, the Ramboll Foundation has launched the 2022 Flemming Bligaard Award, a EUR 65,000 prize for ground-breaking research into “Mental wellbeing in cities” – one of the largest awards in this field.

The award is open to early-careers researchers from a range of disciplines and backgrounds, who are conducting research that aims to help the complex mental health and wellbeing of city inhabitants – examining the relationship of city life and mental health, as well as identifying the factors that can help promote mental wellbeing in cities. The intended research outcomes must have the potential to be replicable, scalable, and applicable in diverse urban environments.

“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, Managing Director of the Ramboll Foundation. “The Foundation is honoured to once again support the best and brightest research talent by way of the Flemming Bligaard Award.”

Applications for the 2022 Flemming Bligaard Award close on 10 October 2022.

Research focus areas for the 2022 award

Cross-sectoral and cross-cultural insights and tools are vital for tackling the growing problem of mental distress affecting people living in cities today. As such, the award aims to attract a broad range of research talent within fields such as architecture, engineering, sociology, psychology, public health, urban design, and urban planning. 

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

Further details about the application process

About the Award

The Flemming Bligaard Award aims to uncover bright ideas, 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. 

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.


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