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Olaf Svenningsen

Personal Profile

Olaf Svenningsen hiking in Sarek in 2017.

Originally trained as a geologist and after some years pursuing a career as an active scientist, I switched to a different career path – that of research support – when I took a job at the US National Science Foundation in 2000. My earth science background gave me insight and experience with excruciatingly slow processes interrupted by natural catastrophes, which turned out to be good preparation for working with research support.


I have worked at seven universities, two research funders, and two research-performing institutions (a geological survey and a psychiatric hospital) in three countries, and have been deeply engaged in developing research support for the past at least 15 years.

Professional experience


Research Lighthouse








Danish Lithosphere Centre, Copenhagen University and GEUS



I am the founder, owner, and only employee. 

Head ("chefkonsulent") of the Secretariat for Psychiatric Research. Operational responsibility for the Psychiatric Research Fund, strategy development and follow-up, support proposal/project development.

Head ("avdelningschef") of Research Services at the central administration. Operational responsibility for research support, including graduate education, research communication, Open Science, RCR etc.

Head ("chefkonsulent") of Southern Denmark Research Support at the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Region of Southern Denmark. Research support, primarily pre-award; proposal and project development, researcher development, etc.

Senior Research Funding Coordinator ("forsknings-sekreterare") at Science and Technology, and Medicine and Pharmacy. Primarily pre-award services, also developing research support, including research communication, strategy development, researcher career development etc.

Associate Research Scientist and Office Coordinator of the NSF-MARGINS Program (PDF), which was active from 1988 to 2010, then succeeded by GeoPRISMS

Assistant Research Scientist ("forskarassistent") in geology, funded by the Swedish Natural Science Research Council/NFR (succeeded by VR in 2000). 1999-2000 as a visiting scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York.

Postdoctoral Fellow, funded by the Swedish Natural Science Research Council/NFR (succeeded by VR in 2000). The Danish Lithosphere Centre was one of the first Centres of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation.

Doctoral student ("doktorand") at the Department of Geology in Lund, also working as a Survey Geologist ("extrageolog") at the Lund Office of the Geological Survey of Sweden/SGU.

Commissions of trust 




Chairperson/president, interim 2013, elected 2014-2018. Joined the association in 2009, elected board member from 2010. 

Board member 2013-15. Joined the association in 2010. Chair of the Working Group for Gender and Diversity 2015-2017. Chair/member of the Membership and Communication Standing Committee 2017-2021. Trainer on Early-Stage Research Administrator Masterclass (ESRAM) since 2018.

Member of the INORMS Council and INORMS Working Group 2014 to 2018.


Global Contributing Editor Europe for NCURA Magazine 2013 to 2014. Ordinary member since 2005.

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