Gaillard accepting award in China

Professor Marie-José Gaillard awarded in China

Marie-José Gaillard-Lemdahl, professor of paleoecology at Linnaeus University, was recently awarded “The Chinese Government Friendship Award 2017” at a ceremony in Beijing, China. The award was handed out in connection to days of activities organised by the Chinese State administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA). This year, 50 experts from 21 different countries were awarded, of which three were women. Gaillard-Lemdahl got the award for her work with Chinese researchers in general and with Hebei Normal University in China in particular.

The award is very prestigious in China; it is the most prestigious award given to foreign experts. "The Chinese Government Friendship Award" was established in 1991 to honour foreign experts who have contributed in an excellent way to China's socioeconomic development.

During two days in Beijing, the 50 experts met with several representatives from the Chinese leadership, among others China's second-in-command after the president, the prime minister Keqiang Li. The experts have also been asked to leave comments and advice relevant for China's socioeconomic development to SAFEA, which will then forward this to the government.

We met Gaillard-Lemdahl in Kalmar together with Chinese researchers and students from Hebei Normal University in Shijiazhuang, China. They were visiting in September thanks to a joint exchange scholarship via STINT.

Professor Qinghai Xu told us that Gaillard-Lemdahl has received the award for her great contributions to his research group, to Hebei Normal University and to Chinese palynology and paleoecology in general.

"We have had a successful research collaboration for several years. She has participated in our field studies to teach us the research model we are now using to survey China's ancient vegetation cover. This has resulted in us receiving large grants to continue our work", says Xu.

"As for her contribution to Chinese palynology, she has initiated and implemented this research in China, she has organised international workshops and we now have several research groups working with this", Xu continues.

"In China we have a saying that goes 'if you carry out good research you must be a good person'. Gaillard-Lemdahl is such a person. She has visited us many times, instructed our research group and participated on field expeditions and despite harsh conditions, high mountains, deep water, rain and mosquitoes she has never backed down but continued to work energetically. I am very thankful for her contribution to China and for our friendship", Xu concludes.

Last year, Gaillard-Lemdahl was awarded "The Peoples' Government of Hebei Province's Yanzhao Friendship Award" from Hebei Province for her multi-year collaboration with Hebei Normal University. This time, it is a national award.

More awards

Gaillard-Lemdahl was recently appointed a member of "AcademiaNet – The Expert Database for Outstanding Women in Academia" by The Swedish Research Council.

Since 2016, Gaillard-Lemdahl is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' Crafoord committee that decides who will receive the prestigious Crafoord award in geoscience in 2018. She is also a member of The Swedish Research Council's panel NT-7 Geology and geophysics that evaluates research applications in 2017.

Here is a clip from the award ceremony published by the Chinese TV-channel


Marie-José Gaillard-Lemdahl, professor of botany (specialisation vegetation history and paleoecology), email However, she will be in China until the end of October, but will be reachable via email.

Annika Sand, senior press officer, phone +4676 830 01 05