Photo: DTU

DKK 40 million for bold research ideas

Wednesday 11 Sep 19

About Villum Experiment

See press release from VILLUM FONDEN. 

Villum Experiment funds exceptional research projects in the technical and natural sciences that challenge norms and have the potential to fundamentally alter our approach to key questions. The applicants are anonymous to the international panel of peer reviewers, which allows them to focus on the research proposal alone and give researchers freedom of scope in relation to their current academic standing.

Read more about Villum Experiment.
21 of 52 projects which receive grants from VILLUM FONDEN under the Villum Experiment programme are from DTU.

VILLUM FONDEN awards a total of EUR 13.2 million (DKK 98.5 million) in grants to bold research ideas in the technical and natural sciences that challenge norms and have the potential to fundamentally alter approaches to important topics. DTU researchers will receive 21 of the total of 52 grants, with the grant recipients being chosen from among 400 applicants.

The applicants range right from postdocs to professors and represent 16 nationalities. The recipients from DTU represent nine different nationalities and eight of DTU’s departments (see the recipients below).

According to the foundation’s Executive Chief Scientific Officer Thomas Bjørnholm, the programme is about daring to challenge the conventional framework for how research funding is granted.
“It’s about supporting the bold idea that you might not dare to mention aloud, which may challenge acclaimed research, and which doesn’t fit into the conventional boxes that form the basis of much research funding,” he says.

The ‘bold ideas’ from DTU include automated reinforcement of 3-D printed concrete structures, batteries based on rust and salt water, energy-efficient spintronic applications, a study of the impact of aerosol on climate change with microscopy, and 3-D live imaging of complex nanostructures.

All applications are subject to a selection process in which 20 international judges assess the research idea without the possibility of taking the researchers’ CVs and academic qualifications into account.

“You need to make room for researchers with new ideas and radical angles, as well as alternatives to the well-known peer-review process. We can use our anonymous selection process and venture funds to help make sure that wild and offbeat ideas get tested,” says Thomas Bjørnholm.

DTU recipients

Astri Bjørnetun Haugen, PhD, DTU Energy, The microplatelet machine, DKK 2 million

Bingdong Chang, PhD, DTU Nanolab, Adding extra dimensions to dielectric nanostructures – revolutionary building blocks for nanophotonics, DKK 1.8 million.

Carlos León Sobrino, Dr., DTU Biosustain, CRISPR-cas mediated silencing as an intelligent and iterative screening tool for bacterial engineering, DKK 1.7 million.

Christian Pedersen, Professor, DTU Fotonik, Mid-infrared, hyperspectral, super resolution microscope, DKK 2 million.

Emil Damgaard Jensen, Postdoc, DTU Biosustain, FusTech: Cell-cell fusion technology between eukaryotic kingdoms, DKK 2 million.

Gregor Fischer, Associate Professor, DTU Civil Engineering, Automated, digitally controlled installation of reinforcement in 3-D printed concrete structures, DKK 2 million.

Hitesh Kumar Sahoo, Researcher, DTU Fotonik, Handshaking of light and sound: enabling on-chip silicon light source and optical amplifier, DKK 2 million.

Juanita Bocquel, Postdoc, DTU Physics, Quantum Sensing of a Biological Compass, DKK 1.9 million.

Kim Lau Nielsen, Associate Professor, DTU Mechanical Engineering, Micron-scale Crashworthiness (MicronCrash), DKK 2 million.

Kristian Mølhave, Associate Professor, DTU Nanolab, A Microscopic View on Aerosols and Climate Change, DKK 2 million.

Kristoffer Haldrup, Senior Scientist, DTU Physics, Phonon Photography, DKK 1.9 million.

Manuel Pinelo, Associate Professor, DTU Chemical Engineering, Creating multiple microenvironments within the same reactor setup for sequential enzymatic reactions at industrial level, DKK 1.2 million.

Murat Nulati Yesibolati, Postdoc, DTU Nanolab, Watch a Brownian dance at the nanoscale: live-imaging and quantification of complex nanostructure motion in 3D, DKK 1.9 million.

Nicolas Stenger, Associate Professor, DTU Fotonik, A single-photon emitter at mid-infrared frequencies, DKK 1.9 million.

Nini Pryds, Professor, DTU Energy, Epitaxial oxide heterostructures: New design of Energy-Efficient spintronic Devices (NEED), DKK 2 million.

Piotr de Silva, Assistant Professor, DTU Energy, Combining machine learning and human understanding for accelerated discovery of molecular materials, DKK 2 million.

Thomas Olsen, PhD., DTU Physics, Farming functionality: “Sowing two-dimensional metals in ferroelectrics”, DKK 1.7 million.

Timothy Booth, Assistant Professor, DTU Physics, IonGate - Bio-inspired synthetic active transport membranes based on van der Waals heterostructures, DKK 2 million.

Wolff-Ragnar Kiebach, Senior Researcher, DTU Energy, Can you build a battery from rust?, DKK 2 million.

Xiaodan Zhang, Senior Researcher, DTU Mechanical Engineering, Explore the strength limit of metals, DKK 2 million.

Yubin Zhang, Senior Researcher, DTU Mechanical Engineering, Bringing synchrotron micro-diffraction to the laboratory, DKK 1.9 million.

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