Photo: DTU

VILLUM FONDEN awards researchers EUR 5 million

Tuesday 23 Jan 18
by Søren Ravn


Martin Nielsen
Associate Professor
DTU Chemistry
+45 24 65 10 45


Efren Fernandez Grande
Associate Professor
DTU Electro
+45 45 25 39 40


VILLUM FONDEN was established in 1971 by graduate engineer Villum Kann Rasmussen, the founder of VELUX A/S and other companies.

The foundation is a non-profit foundation which supports technical and scientific research as well as environmental, social and cultural activities in Denmark and abroad.

Four DTU researchers receive close to EUR 1,3 million each from VILLUM FONDEN. Now they are to establish research groups and realize their ambitions.

This year, 18 researchers from four Danish universities receive a total of EUR 21 million (DKK 153 million) from VILLUM FONDEN.

The talented researchers include four researchers from DTU: Pengyu Guan, Martin Nielsen, Efren Fernandez-Grande, and Luca Camilli. The researchers will be honoured at a festive gathering at the Royal Library.

The funding comes from the foundation’s Young Investigator Programme, which has supported 129 talented researchers since 2012. Common to the recipients is that they, in addition to being excellent researchers, are all under 40 years of age. They each receive between approximately EUR 1-1,4 million (DKK 5-10 million).

With a time-frame of five years, the foundation wishes to give them the necessary financial peace and stability to establish themselves, compose their first research group, and employ other young researchers. Ideally, this will form the basis for the generation of new knowledge which will benefit society.

The four DTU projects


Title: Optical time lens for passive optical network with ultra-high capacity (Lens-PON)

Recipient: Pengyu Guan, Postdoc, DTU Fotonik

Amount: DKK 9,981,115

The purpose of the project is to promote the form of optical signal processing which is based on time lenses, including the use of optical time lenses in optical access networks (broadband fibre networks) where emphasis is placed on energy savings. The aim of the project is to be achieved through examination of new units and methodologies, based on temporal Fourier optics and new integrated photonic components. The grant will allow the employment of two PhD students and one postdoc as well as the purchase of new equipment.


Title: Acceptorless dehydrogenation of alcohol in ionic liquids at homogeneous catalysis

Recipient: Martin Nielsen, Assistant Professor, DTU Chemistry

Amount: DKK 9,928,835

The transition from a polluting energy system based on fossil fuels to an environmentally-friendly alternative based on sustainable resources is one of the most important tasks of our time. The project will contribute to achieving this objective by developing catalytic processes which effectively extract hydrogen from renewable organic material. This may open up opportunities for viable implementations of a hydrogen-based energy system. The grant will finance two PhD students, two postdocs and a laboratory technician.


Title: Large-scale acoustic holography

Recipient: Efren Fernandez-Grande, Associate Professor, DTU Electrical Engineering

Amount: DKK 7,224,374

Sound is a central element in our perception and interaction with the world. However, it is not yet possible to register all sound details in rooms with considerable volume. This project will investigate methods of registering the full three-dimensional acoustic space in a room. The research will have a major impact on communication, virtual reality, preservation of culture, architecture and art. The grant will allow the recruitment of two PhD students and two postdocs.


Title: Two-dimensional silicon in electronics

Recipient: Luca Camilli, Associate Professor, DTU Nanotech

Amount: DKK 9,567,895

In the quest for new, faster and more efficient electronics, this project focuses on two-dimensional layers of silicon atoms—silicene—designed to be integrated with advanced silicon technology. In order to map and exploit the electronic properties of silicene, a robust platform is developed in order to produce and study silicene transistors. The grant will allow the employment of one postdoc and one PhD student as well as the purchase of new equipment.

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