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Experiments worth millions

The Villum Foundation is supporting bold technical and scientific research ideas for the second time. Researchers from Aarhus University are again on the list of recipients, with eight daring ideas totalling DKK 15.3 million.

This is the second time that the Villum Foundation has granted funding under the VILLUM Experiment programme for original research experiments at Danish research institutions. The first time was in 2017, and in future the grants will be awarded once a year.

A total 53 experiments were selected in 2018, and together they will be receiving DKK 100 million. The recipients have been selected from more than 400 applications, all of which have been through an anonymous selection process in which 53 international assessors have reviewed the research ideas without being able to consider the researchers' CVs and academic qualifications.

In the Foundation’s own words, the VILLUM Experiment is designed for very specific research projects that challenge norms and could potentially fundamentally change the way we approach important topics. In order to ensure that the researchers can submit their most ambitious and ground-breaking ideas without being regarded as ‘odd ' by their colleagues in the panel assessing their research idea, the applicants are kept anonymous to the assessors. The assessors are asked to focus on the ideas that they perceive as real breakthroughs. Perhaps only one out of ten projects will end up with something unique.

The amounts granted range from DKK 1-2 million and they are intended to cover a research period of 1-2 years. A grant can cover project-related costs such as salaries, equipment, travel, out-of-pocket expenses, etc.

Recipients from Aarhus
Eight researchers from Aarhus University have successfully applied for funding from the VILLUM Experiment programme, with grants totalling DKK 15.3 million. The projects are:

Professor Henrik Stapelfeldt, Department of Chemistry to receive DKK 1.8 million for the project "The primary steps of organic solar cells studied in a 0.4 K cold nanolaboratory".

Senior researcher Jacob Overgaard, Department of Chemistry to receive DKK 1.7 million for the project "Magnetic Anisotropy Using Powder Neutron Diffraction - senseless or ingenious?"

Assistant Professor Marcelo Dias, Department of Engineering to  receive DKK 2 million for the project "Mechanical Metamaterials and the next generation of advanced materials".

Postdoc Stergios Misios, Department of Geoscience to receive DKK 1.9 million for the project "Environmental consequences of solar cosmic rays".

Assistant Professor Thomas Tørring, Department of Engineering to receive DKK 1.9 million for the project "Image Recognition in the Hunt for New Natural Products".

Assistant Professor Tina Santl-Temkiv, Department of Bioscience to receive DKK 2 million for the project "Deciphering the role of sea-ice microorganisms on cloud processes in the Arctic".

Associate Professor Tobias Weidner, Department of Chemistry to receive DKK 2 million for the project "The molecular tricks bacteria use to make ice".

Associate Professor Victoria Birkedal, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center to receive DKK 2 million for the project "Self-assembled polymer chips for efficient devices".

Read more about the VILLUM Experiment in a press release about the grants.

Read about the grant to iNANO

Read about the grants to the Department of Engineering