Crown Prince and Princess attend DTU’s Commemoration Day 2019

Wednesday 08 May 19
DTU’s Commemoration Day celebrations were attended by the Crown Prince and Princess. Following the presentation of a large number of prizes and awards to researchers, faculty staff, and students, the evening concluded with a party for 4,000 guests.

Photos: Ulrik Jantzen/Büro Jantzen

On 3 May—a blustery spring day—DTU opened its doors to the annual Commemoration Day celebrations. Here, partners, students, and staff were greeted on the red carpet by Chairman of the Board of Governors Per Falholt, DTU President Anders Bjarklev, Executive Vice President, Provost Rasmus Larsen, and Søren Kuhberg, President of Polyteknisk Forening (PF).

Among the special invitees were the Danish Crown Prince and Princess, Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science Tommy Ahlers, Minister for Business, Industry and Financial Affairs Rasmus Jarlov, and a large number of ambassadors—including US Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands.

The special invitees attended the academic awards ceremony together with an audience of 1,400. Here, outstanding research excellence was honoured through the conferral of honorary doctorates, and this year’s recipients of the doctoral degree were celebrated. Special prizes for inspirational teaching were presented by the students, and this year’s student start-up was honoured. Live music was provided by the Danish singer Pernille Rosendahl and Symphonic Brass.

The academic awards ceremony was followed by dinner for 3,000 guests. The evening concluded with music and dancing for 4,000 guests, including performances by Benal, Jonny Deluxe, Det Ny Big Band featuring Anna David & Niels HP, Stagebreakers, and Blå Mandag Jazzband.

DTU’s annual Commemoration Day celebrations are among the biggest in the Danish university world and unique in that invitees include students, staff, and external partners from other universities, companies, various industries, and government agencies and institutions.

Highlights from the academic awards ceremony


Photo: Ulrik Jantzen

DTU President kicked off the academic awards ceremony by talking about DTU Health Tech, where DTU has gathered more than 350 talented colleagues to create an even stronger technological foundation for the treatment of cancer, diabetes, and hearing loss:

What do you get if you combine a researcher within bioinformatics with a doctor in oncology, add a molecular biologist, and a strong partnership with the national genome centre? Well, you get better, cheaper, and faster breast cancer classification—thereby ensuring that women receive the most effective and gentle treatment. It is research that makes a difference. Research that adds value. Research that has the potential to save lives. And we need more of it—much, much more.

Anders Bjarklev also made a point of saying that, in many ways, DTU has never been more successful than it is now: Last year, DTU entered into an impressive 1,460 project agreements with the business community. Moreover, DTU commercializes more and more DTU patents, while 2018 saw the highest-ever number of startups from DTU: 87 new enterprises—including 52 established by DTU students.

“We’re producing more knowledge, educating more engineers, and establishing more partnerships with industry and public institutions than ever before. Our research provides the foundation for educating the engineers that will drive technology developments for the next 50 years: DTU makes technology for the future.”

Read the President's speech in its entirety by following the link.


President of Polyteknisk Forening: I recommend doing away with the cap


Photo: Ulrik Jantzen

President of Polyteknisk Forening, Søren Kuhberg, said among other things:

“The Danish government has introduced a cap on the admission of international students by Danish universities. The argument is that we need to ensure that more of our international students stay in Denmark after graduating. It would appear that the way to ensure this is by telling potential international students that we don’t want them to come here in the first place. PF does not agree with this line of thinking. If we want better universities and a better Denmark, I recommend that we stop capping international student numbers and start taking responsibility instead. We all need to take more responsibility—the international students, the Danish students, DTU, the Danish government.”


Lecturers of the Year


Photo: Ulrik Jantzen

Each year, students at DTU nominate a number of Lecturers of the Year. This year, the awards went to Associate Professor Cheol-Ho Jeong and Professor Robert Madsen

Associate Professor Cheol-Ho Jeong, DTU Electrical Engineering:


Professor Robert Madsen, DTU Chemistry:


Student Start-up of the Year 


Photo: Ulrik Jantzen

The Student Start-up of the Year award went to Mohammad Filfil, Arvan Vali Maani, Wahib Joseph Abboud, and Li Clean Ou for their startup Paragit Solutions.

Paragit Solutions started with an idea for a sports top which could show how you train which muscles. During a hackathon at DTU Skylab (OI-X Health), the idea developed into a device which can be used to detect Parkinson’s disease up to ten years earlier than the existing diagnostic methods. In a year, the students have succeeded in building a working prototype, accessing clinical trials, putting together a team of nine people, and attracting a great deal of international attention. All thanks to the team’s hard work and ability to reach out to people who can and are willing to help them.

The award was presented by Marianne Thellersen, Senior Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.


Occupational Health and Safety Award


Photo: Ulrik Jantzen

The year’s Occupational Health and Safety Award went to Working Environment Coordinator Sidsel Bjerre Andersen, DTU Energy.

“Sidsel is very committed and never shies away from taking a seat on task forces working to improve the working environment at DTU or at DTU energy. In the working environment coordinator network, Sidsel brings up issues which draw attention to areas of the working environment in which she and DTU Energy have found good solutions, or where DTU needs to shape up,” said DTU President Different Bjarklev.

“Sidsel is playing a very active role in connection with DTU Energy’s construction work at DTU Lyngby Campus. She has highlighted the need for the buildings to allow the most optimal and safe workplaces to be created at the department.”


Gala lecture


Photo: Ulrik Jantzen

Speaker of the year was Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe, Professor at DTU Fotonik, who conducts research into functionalities and applications of light. Leif gave a lecture on the topic ‘The Internet: Climate sinner or lifeline?’.

Doctorate degrees


Photo: Ulrik Jantzen

In the past year, three researchers have defended their technical doctoral degrees (dr.techn.) at DTU: Brian Nyvang Legarth and Ulrik Dam Nielsen from DTU Mechanical Engineering and Yukihiro Kusano from DTU Wind Energy. They were presented with the doctoral diplomas conferred upon them by the Academic Council.


Honorary doctorate


Photo: Ulrik Jantzen

An honorary doctorate was awarded to Professor Frances Arnold. She is a Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Last year she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her research into enzymes.

Frances Arnold will be visiting DTU to give a DTU Ørsted Lecture on 22 May 2019.


Julius Thomsen Gold Medal


Photo: Ulrik Jantzen

Professor Ib Chorkendorff, DTU physics, was awarded the Julius Thomsen Gold Medal.

Ib Chorkendorff’s field of research is heterogeneous catalysis and electrocatalysis. Ib Chorkendorff is one of the world’s leading stars in his field, which is also an area of research which plays a crucial role in the transition to a fossil-free society. Often, green energy in the form of solar or wind power cannot be used immediately, but must be stored in batteries or converted into fuels. This is where Ib Chorkendorff’s innovative work with catalytic converters plays a key role.

During his time at DTU, Ib has spearheaded several major initiatives. For ten years, he was head of a basic research centre. He has headed the ‘Catalysis for Sustainable Energy’ programme. And he is currently leader of the VILLUM Center for the Science of Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals at DTU.

Ib’s research efforts are highly valued both nationally and internationally, and he recently received an ERC Advanced Grant.

He has published more than 300 scientific articles, which has earned him a place on the ISI list of highly cited researchers. He has received a number of international honours and regularly undertakes international commitments on advisory bodies. For instance, he is currently a reviewing editor of the scientific journal Science.

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