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UCPH scientists get DKK 120m for pioneering research

Research — Three scientists from the University of Copenhagen have each received nearly DKK 40 million for their technical and scientific research.

The Villum Foundation has awarded 11 researchers at Danish research institutions a total of DKK 400 million through the programme VILLUM Investigators. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) will receive close to DKK 120 million for their leading technical and scientific research.

The three recipients from the University of Copenhagen: Professor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Professor Jens Hjort, who is also affiliated with the Niels Bohr Institute, and Professor Mikkel Thorup, Department of Computer Science. Each will receive close to DKK 40m.

Research at the highest international level

The 11 researchers were selected from a pool of 101 applicants. Thomas Sinkjær, professor and research director of the Villum Foundation, explains the large research donation:

“All the researchers have demonstrated innovative, pioneering research of the highest international scientific quality”

Thomas Sinkjær, professor and research director at Villum Foundation

“All the researchers have demonstrated innovative, pioneering research of the highest international scientific quality. And each has the leadership skills and potential to build and maintain an international research environment and in this way make a significant contribution to technical and scientific research – and ultimately to society.”

The three recipients from UCPH are all considered top scientists and have received numerous awards for their work.

Dorthe Dahl-Jensen is a professor in ice core research and internationally recognized for her work in reconstructing past climates using ice core and borehole data. She studied geophysics at the University of Copenhagen, and in recent times her research has focused on the development of the Greenland ice sheet in connection with global warming. Dorthe Dahl-Jensen and her research group are the first and only group to bore an ice core in the middle of an ice flow. . The research results can provide better projections for future rises in sea level.

Jens Hjorth , a professor of astrophysics and the director of the Dark Cosmology Centre, is one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of cosmology and has his focus on supernovae, gamma-ray beams and dark matter. Only two months ago he received another distinction from the Villum Foundation , namely the Villum Kann Rasmussen Annual Award which, with its DKK 5 million is the largest single research award in Denmark. The new grant will allow him to build on his work in basic research at the Dark Cosmology Centre, which includes the study of gravitational waves and signals from supernova explosions and try to identify where the solid matter, which our Earth consists of, comes from.

Mikkel Thorup is the third grant recipient from the University of Copenhagen and is a professor in theoretical computer science. Like Jens Hjorth he is a former recipient of the Villum Kann Rasmussen Annual Award. His main work has been on algorithms and data structures, and the money will go to setting up the new research centre Basic Algorithms Research Copenhagen (BARC). The centre is to attract talent from all over the world and to make fundamental breakthroughs in algorithm research – for the benefit of industry worldwide.

Celebrating

It is the first time that the Villum Foundation awards funding to Villum Investigators. It is specific for this programme that funds are given personally to the researchers, rather than to specific research projects.

The 11 Villum investigators will be celebrated at an event on 27th April with participation by the Minister for Higher Education and Research Søren Pind and top quantum physicist at UCPH Charles M. Marcus.

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