Københavns Universitet
Uafhængig af ledelsen


11 unge KU-forskere deler 93 mio. kroner fra Villum Fonden

Bevillinger — SCIENCE ved Københavns Universitet har gjort det godt i år, når det gælder om at få tildelt penge fra Villum Fondens Young Investigator Programme. 10 ud af 18 unge bevillingsmodtagere kommer herfra.

Villum Fonden har i år uddelt 153 mio. kroner til i alt 18 unge, talentfulde forskere fra de fire danske universiteter: Københavns Universitet (KU), Roskilde Universitet, Syddansk Universitet og Aalborg Universitet.

Pengene kommer fra Villum Fondens Young Investigator Programme, og hele 10 af de 18 er enten adjunkter eller lektorer, der er ansatte på Det Natur- og Biovidenskabelige Fakultet (Science) ved KU – mens en ellevte KU-forsker er ansat på Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet.


KU-forskere tegner sig for 60 % procent af tildelingerne fra Villum Fondens Young Investigator-program i år. Det er en klar fremgang sammenlignet med tidligere år, hvor KU’s andel har ligget mellem 25 og 52 procent.

Siden 2012 har programmet tildelt følgende:

2012 – 75,4 mio. kr. (heraf 39 % til KU)
2013 – 93 mio. kr. (heraf 25 % til KU)
2014 – 95,4 mio. kr. (heraf 35 % til KU)
2015 – 100,6 mio. kr. (heraf 45 % til KU)
2016 – 119,1 mio. kr. (heraf 52 % til KU)
2017 – 146,2 mio. kr. (heraf 43 % til KU)
2018 – 153,4 mio. kr. (heraf 60 % til KU)

VILLUM Young Investigator-tildelingerne skal ifølge Villum Fonden støtte »særligt talentfulde, yngre forskere inden for teknisk og naturvidenskabelig forskning med ambitioner om at skabe egne, selvstændige forskningsprofiler.«


Der er stor spændvidde i de unge forskeres projekter. En arbejder fx på at sikre rent vand, en anden med at blive klogere på universets sorte huller, mens en tredje arbejder med keglesnegles raffinerede giftsystemer på havets bund.

Unge forskere skal ud af skyggen

Villum Fondens Young Investigator Programme blev oprettet i 2012 for at fremme yngre forskere, som ellers kan komme til at stå i skyggen af de mere veletablerede lektorer og professorer, står der i en pressemeddelelse fra

Formålet med den økonomiske støtte fra Villum Fonden er at gøre det muligt for de unge forskere at oprette deres egne forskningsgrupper, så de kan tiltrække sig opmærksomhed – også i forhold til fx at kunne opnå økonomisk støtte fra EU.

Projekterne løber typisk over tre til fem år, og Villum Fondens direktør Lars Hansen håber, at bevillingerne gør det muligt for de unge forskere at dyrke deres egne forskningsområder, og at det kan føre til ny, spændende viden til gavn for hele samfundet.

De 11 KU-forskere modtog den formelle hæder ved Villum Fondens årlige uddeling tirsdag 23. januar på Det Kongelige Bibliotek (Diamanten).

De 11 forskere og deres projekter

Herunder giver de 11 KU-forskere en kort beskrivelse  af deres projekter på engelsk. Teksten er hentet fra Villum Fondens hjemmeside. Se det originale dokument her, hvor du også kan læse om de øvrige projekter, der er blevet begunstiget).

Giorgos Leloudas, adjunkt, Niels Bohr Institutet
Støttes med: 9,9 mio. kr.
Om projektet STING: Studying Transients in the Nuclei of Galaxies: »STING will study the most extreme objects in the Universe: gigantic black holes located in the centres of galaxies. While these objects are normally invisible, they can be observed when they briefly interact with their environment. By studying such transient phenomena, STING will address questions fundamental for both the physics of black holes and the evolution of galaxies. The project will run at the Niels Bohr Institute and the grant will fund one postdoc and one PhD student.«

Lars E. Kristensen, adjunkt, Niels Bohr Instituttet
Støttes med: 9,4 mio. kr.
Om projektet Unravelling the complex and prebiotic chemistry of star-forming regions: »Planetary systems, such as the Solar System, mainly form in large molecular clouds. These clouds show an incredibly rich organic chemistry which may imprint on the forming planets. Through observations with the most powerful radio telescopes on Earth, this project will quantify the role of the external environment on the chemical richness in forming planetary systems, both in our own Milky Way Galaxy and in the distant Universe. The grant will fund the recipient, two PhD students and a postdoc.«

Markus Ahlers, adjunkt, Niels Bohr Instituttet
Støttes med: 7,3 mio. kr.
Om projektet Deciphering Cosmic Neutrinos with Multi-Messenger Astronomy: »One of the most exciting recent results in astronomy is the detection of high-energy neutrinos by the IceCube Observatory in Antarctica. The origin of these neutrinos is yet unknown. Astrophysical neutrinos are produced along with high-energy photons (gamma rays) via collisions of cosmic rays with gas and radiation. This project aims to identify neutrino sources via innovative IceCube data analyses that are tailored to multi-messenger sources. The grant will fund one PhD student and two postdocs.«

Helena Safavi-Hemami, adjunkt, Biologisk Institut
Støttes med: 9,5 mio. kr.
Om projektet Evolution-Guided Discovery of Novel Receptor Ligands from Animal Venoms: »Predatory marine cone snails use diverse toxins to capture prey. These conotoxins target receptors in the prey’s nervous and sensory system with remarkable selec – tivity. This project will identify and characterise a large number of novel conotoxins and utilise this data to provide unique insight into the evolution of toxin ligands and their receptor targets. The grant will fund the training of one PhD student, one postdoc, equipment and exchange with international collaborators.«

Ida Moltke, adjunkt, Biologisk Institut
Støttes med: 5 mio. kr.
Om projektet Detecting and investigating natural selection driven by epidemics: »The aim of the project is to develop methods to detect evidence of selection favouring disease-protecting genetic variants and to use these methods to investigate if such selection has acted during recent epidemics of diseases like plague and Ebola. The main purpose is to gain insight into the role of epidemics in evolution. However, the project may also offer insight into how the diseases can be prevented in the future. The grant will fund two postdocs and the generation of data.«

Jiwoong Lee, adjunkt, Kemisk Institut
Støttes med: 7,4 mio. kr.
Om projektet Water: Divide and Conquer (Split and Purify): »Water is the most important molecule on Earth. All forms of life consist of water, which also provides the essential environment for proliferation of life. However, recent global climate change is seemingly accelerating the unpredictability of secure water supply sources. This project will provide a new Catalytic Desalination Process by Diamine and Carbon Dioxide. The grant will fund two PhD students and one postdoc.«

María Escudero-Escribano, adjunkt, Kemisk Institut
Støttes med: 10 mio. kr.
Om projektet Atomic ensembles for clean energy and synthesis (AtomSyn): »Electro catalysis is essential for the development of a green economy based on clean energy and sustainable chemical synthesis. The main purpose of AtomSyn is to understand and tune the selectivity of new “dream” electrochemical reactions by atomic-scale control of the geometric structure of the catalyst surface. This approach will allow us to convert greenhouse gases into fuels as well as synthesise high-value chemicals. The grant will fund three PhD students, two postdocs and equipment.«

Kristoffer Szilas, adjunkt, Institut for Geovidenskab og Naturforvaltning
Støttes med: 7,4 mio. kr.
Om projektet A partial cumulate origin of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle: »The project will investigate the origin of enigmatic olivine-rich rocks (peridotites), which occur as km-scale inclusions within 3600 to 3000 million-year-old continental crust in Greenland. A detailed geochemical study will provide new constraints on the formation of the first continents, as well as on the initiation of plate tectonic processes which is unique to planet Earth. The grant will fund one PhD student and one postdoc, equipment and fieldwork in Greenland.«

Jonas Peters, lektor, Institut for Matematiske Fag
Støttes med: 8,2 mio. kr.
Om projektet Causal Learning in Real World Applications: » In causality, we want to understand how a system reacts under interventions (e.g., in gene knock-out experiments). These questions go beyond statistical dependences and cannot be answered by standard methods from statistics. Causal models are stable with respect to changes in the environment, a property that will help us to learn causal structures from data. Together with two PhD students and one postdoc we will apply our research in earth system science, biogeography, and computational biology

Nanna Bjarnholt, lektor, Institut for Plante- og Miljøvidenskab
Støttes med:
10 mio. kr.
Om projektet Glutathione transferases in plant specialised metabolism: »Plants produce a broad array of ‘specialised metabolites’ that are of great importance in everything from medicine to crop performance. Glutathione transferase enzymes constitute a large and mysterious family in plants, expected to have unresolved functions in specialised metabolism. With this grant a post doc and a PhD student will explore these enzyme functions to increase our understanding of specialised metabolism and provide tools for future optimisation of plant utilization.«

Vito Foderà, lektor Institut for Farmaci
Støttes med: 8,5 mio. kr.
Om projektet Protein Superstructures as Smart Biomaterials (ProSmart): »Protein superstructures hold a great potential as new biomaterials in areas such as tissue engineering and drug delivery. This project aims at unravelling the role of intermolecular interactions in controlling the growth, structure and properties of protein superstructures. The project will provide a novel platform for the design and realisation of tailored protein-based materials. The grant will fund two postdocs, one PhD student and equipment.«