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AIAS Associate Fellow Felix Riede awarded the Elite Research Prize 2022

With a highly interdisciplinary research approach, Professor and AIAS Associate Fellow Felix Riede contributes with new understandings of contemporary climate change adaptation by studying how climate change and natural disasters in the deep past have changed societies.

Photo: Elite Research Prize 2022 recipient Felix Riede. By: Søren Kjeldgaard.

The Elite Research Prize is awarded by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science to outstanding researchers, under the age of 45, for their international excellence. With the Elite Research Prize 2022, Felix Riede is recognized for his ground-breaking interdisciplinary research in which he sheds new light on how past societies adapted – or failed to do so – to rapid and large natural disasters and climatic changes. This knowledge can help us imagine how we can cope with similar climate changes or disasters in the future.

As Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology, Felix Riede’s core research areas are cultural evolution and environmental archaeology, but for several years, he has developd and refined a novel interdisciplinary focus by incorporating environmental humanities, ecology, evolutionary biology and geology.

Motivated by cultural evolutionary theory that conceptualises cultures as information transmission systems bounded by communities of practice, Riede applies a range of state-of-the-art quantitative and computational methods to understand how culture changes, especially in relation to climatic and environmental change.

The value of collaborations across disciplines

With an ERC Consolidator Grant awarded in 2018, his current focus is on the period between 15,000 and 11,000 years ago, around the end of the last ice age, with the project ‘CLIOARCH - CLIO dynamic ARCHaeology: Computational approaches to Final Palaeolithic/earliest Mesolithic archaeology and climate change.’ Also in this project, Riede works at the interface between the Biosciences, the Earth Sciences and the Human Sciences.

Since 2021, Felix Riede has been appointed an AIAS Associate Fellow, and he is also affiliated to other interdisciplinary centres at Aarhus University; iClimate, Interdisciplinary Centre for Climate Change and Center for Biodiversity Dynamics in a Changing World at the Department of Biology. All of these engagements bear witness to Riede’s intellectual open-mindedness and respect for other disciplines and his acknowledgement of the value of collaborations across disciplines.

”Important breakthroughs are made in the interaction with other disciplines,” said Felix Riede, one the five Elite Research Prize 2022 recipients.

About the Elite Research Prize

The Elite Research Prize (in Danish the EliteForsk-pris 2022) is awarded to outstanding researchers, under the age 45, for their international excellence. The Ministry of Higher Education and Science annually distributes five prizes. Each prize is DKK 1.2 million. DKK 200,000 is a personal award and DKK 1,000,000 goes to research.

Read interview with Felix Riede by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science (in Danish only) 


Watch video with Felix Riede by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science (in Danish only) 



Felix Riede, Professor and AIAS Associate Fellow
Phone: +45 60187382
School for Culture and Society - Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies
Aarhus University