Eske Willerslev is now Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) at Cambridge

This week our D-IAS Chair of Geogenetics, Professor Eske Willerslev, became Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) at University of Cambridge (UK). A title and an accomplishment not easily obtainable. 

By Susanne Siig Petersen

CAMBRIDGE: Professor Eske Willerslev is already recognized all over the world as an outstanding academic capacity in his field – but Saturday 24th of February 2019 he took another step up the international academic scale and earned the right to wear the much-coveted red academical dress and more importantly: The right to call himself Doctor of Science at University of Cambridge.

Eske Willerslev states from his office in Cambridge:

”It’s considered a great achievement and honor getting a Sc.D. here at University of Cambridge. My thesis consists of among the best papers I have produced over the past 10 years or so. Thus, a substantial amount of work is put into this. I’m both happy, relieved,  and proud”.

Before he officially could call himself ‘Doctor of Science’, he attented a solemn ceremony that prescribes kneeling in front of the vice chancellor of Cambridge and pulling the finger of the presenter as tradition demands. 

After the ceremony it was of course a pleased and proud Dr. Willerslev standing in front of the legendary buildings of Cambridge in England (UK).

“Dr. Willerslev, I presume?”


The highest degree

The degree: ‘Doctor of Science’ (ScD) is the highest degree awarded by the University of Cambridge as only a handful of the degree is awarded each year for distinguished research in Science.

However, this is not the first Doctor degree on Eske Willerslevs impressing resumé: It is Dr. Willerslev’s second Doctor degree as he obtained his first already in 2004 after submitting the results from his PhD scholarship for evaluation as a Dr. of Science rather than a PhD degree at the University of Copenhagen.

Dr. Willerslev holds the Prince Philip Professorship at University of Cambridge, the Lundbeck Foundation Professorship at University of Copenhagen and furthermore he is also a St. Johns Professorial Fellow and – as we know: Chair in Danish Institute for Advanced Study at University of Southern Denmark. 

Congratulations, Dr. Willerslev!


About Eske Willerslev

Professor Eske Willerslev is a well-known Danish DNA researcher and evolutionary geneticist notable for his pioneering work in molecular anthropology, paleontology and ecology. He is full professor at University of Copenhagen, Center for Geogenetics under the National Museum of Natural History. In 2015 he was appointed Prince Philip Professor at the University of Cambridge.

In 2016 New York Times brought a portrait on him as a world known scientific profile.

Eske Willerslev has currently obtained nothing less than 21 prizes and acknowledgements. Some of these are:

The Preservation Hero Award (2017)
From the Department of Archaeology and Historical preservation in Washington State for his work on the Kennewick Man Genome.

Order of the Dannebrog (2017)
Issued by her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

The Shanghai Archaeology Forum (SAF) Award (2015) 
For the best research published within the field of archaeology in 2014-2015.

Foreign Associate Member of the National Academy of Sciences in the USA (NAS) (2014)
This membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. The NAS foreign membership totals only 440 associates worldwide.

Honorary Doctor (doctor honoris causa) at University of Oslo (2014)
These honorary degrees are conferred on a very few international distinguished researchers every three years to honor their overall contribution to science.


Read more about Eske Willerslev (in Danish) at