Hordur G. Kristinsson, Ph.D., head of research at Matís and director of the biotechnology and biochemistry department received Science and Technology Policy Council Motivation Award, which was granted to him at the Research Forum of The Icelandic Centre for Research (www.rannis.is).
This is the second time an employee of Matís has been afforded this award, the first being Anna
Kristín Daníelsdóttir in 2000, then employed at the Marine Research Institute. Hordur received the award directly from the prime minister who is also the chairman of the Science and Technology Policy Council. This award is recognition of Hordur’s contributions and the work that goes on behind
Hordur was born in 1972. He completed basic biology studies at the University of Iceland in 1996 and moved from there to the United States for further education. As he studied for his master’s degree at Washington University in Seattle he researched the use of seafood by-products through the application of enzymes using the same techniques widely used today with good results. In 2001 he
completed his doctoral studies in food biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts where he studied the properties of fish proteins. The results of his doctoral research have been used to develop new methods of isolating and using new proteins from by-products and underused fish types, such as the blue whiting and the capelin. Thus it could be said that they have both added to our understanding of marine resources and had great practical benefits.
On the last year of his doctoral studies he was offered the position of associate professor at the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at the University of Florida, one of the largest and most progressive in the BNA. There he built for himself a potent laboratory devoted to the field of food biochemistry with a particular emphasis on the useful applications of seafood. Hordur moved to Iceland in 2007 and began working with Matís a year later but still maintains a position as a docent at the University of Florida.
Hordur has acted as a trailblazer in improving our understanding of biochemicals and bioactive chemicals in Icelandic nature. He was instrumental in building up the Matís Biotechnology Centre at Saudarkrokur which opened in 2008. There specialists work on both local and international research projects, often working closely with the food industry in Skagafjordur and elsewhere in Iceland. An emphasis is placed on offering facilities and professional assistance to develop both products and methods with the goal of speeding the process of idea to product and thus lower the cost of its development.
Hordur’s research has yielded great practical benefits, and he is in fact the holder of three published patents. Hordur has published articles about his research in highly respected scientific magazines and given lectures at conferences the world over. He is an active participant in international cooperation and currently heads up a number of multinational research projects. He has also been active as a teacher and no fewer than ten of his students have thus far completed their doctorates, with another nine holding their masters’ degrees.
Through his work Hordur has shown himself to be an excellent scientist, teacher and director. He has shown initiative and led the way to building a new area of science that has already begun to bear fruit. He is an excellent role model to his students and colleagues as well as a key member of a growing company. It was the unanimous decision of the judges that Hordur G. Kristinsson fulfils all the requirements for the Motivation Award and is a more than worthy recipient of the award for 2010.
About the award
The Science and Technology Policy Council’s Motivation Award is awarded to scientists who
distinguish themselves early on in their careers and raise expectations for the advancement
and gives rise to expectations that he will contribute to the advancement of science that will
improve the quality of life in Iceland. The prize, which now totals two million kroner, has been
awarded each year since 1987, the first time being on the fiftieth birthday of the employment
department of the University of Iceland. The purpose of the Motivation Award is to encourage
scientists through incentive and raise the public’s awareness about the value of research and
the tasks of scientists.