Leende Gunnar Öquist framför mikrofon under Nobelpris-offentliggörande

Photo: Markus Marcetic/SUA

About Gunnar

Gunnar Öquist is a Swedish biologist and professor of plant physiology at Umeå University and served as the permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences from 2003 to 2010 where he also led the initiative to form the Young Academy of Sweden.

Honorary member 2012–

Öquist, born in 1941, graduated from Uppsala University in 1967 and enrolled in postgraduate studies in Umeå in 1968. He earned his PhD at Umeå University in 1972 with the Thesis Some effects of light intensity and iron deficiency on pigmentation and photosynthesis in the blue-green alga Anacystis nidulans. He was made docent in plant physiology in 1974. After two years at Lund University, he returned to Umeå in 1976 and was made a professor in 1981. Öquist's field of research has been the adaptation of photosynthesis in cyanobacteria, algae and higher plants when they are subjected to variations in light intensity, temperature, supply of water or supply of nutrition.

Öquist has a passion for, and vast experience in, the area of research strategy. For example, he served as the main secretary of the Natural Sciences Research Council (NFR), a former Swedish governmental body for science funding, from 1993 to 1999. Together with Mats Benner, Professor in Research Policy and Vice Dean for Research, at the School of Economics and Management at Lund University, Öquist conducted a large study comparing Swedish research to similar countries on behalf of several private and public Swedish research funding agencies. The study is documented in the 2012 report “Fostering breakthrough research – A comparative study” and has led to a vivid debate and initiatives for research.

Öquist has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences since 1986. In 2012 he was welcomed as an Honorary Member of the Young Academy of Sweden together with the Academy’s scientific patron, Torsten Wiesel.

Downloadable images

Svartvitt porträtt av leende Gunnar Öquist som sitter i en fåtölj

Photo: Yanan Li/KVA

Färgporträtt av allvarlig Gunnar Öquist som sitter i en fåtölj

Photo: Yanan Li/KVA


In brief

Interests: hobby carpentry
Other: During his time as Secretary General, Gunnar presented many good news, several Nobel- and Economy prizes, (image above) and hosted the laureates as they visited the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Gunnar Öquist reads aloud from YAS' children's book “Researcher Dreams – Stories for Curious Children”

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