The CAPeX center is anchored in Denmark, but close collaboration with international universities — Stanford University, University of Toronto, and Utrecht University — can contribute to really speeding up the development. Here, CAPeX’s researchers and participants in the CAPeX Academy can acquire unique access to equipment and expertise in both Denmark and abroad.
“We can utilize each other’s infrastructure and competences in a new way. For example, some of our competent postdocs can create programs that can control a synthesis robot located in another country that makes some materials on which a group from a third country or laboratory can analyse the data and make new predictions,” says Tejs Vegge.
One of the goals of the CAPeX center is to accelerate the development of Power-to-X materials, making the process 5-10 times faster. Precisely this approach can also speed up the acquisition of knowledge.
“It means that you suddenly have a global laboratory and a huge number of techniques available on a scale unmatched by any other laboratory in the world,” says Tejs Vegge.
“It provides an opportunity to become a researcher or subsequently an industrial front runner as quickly as possible. The young researchers will have the opportunity to take their ideas to a level where they can be accelerated by the best researchers and the best infrastructure much faster than is typically possible.”
Lengthy stay at international university
When it comes to the green transition, it is important that the solutions extend beyond Denmark’s borders. Even if we expand the production of the green power we consume in Denmark, this constitutes a negligible part of the challenge we have to solve. Therefore, the global outlook has been incorporated in CAPeX Academy, where at least half of the PhDs and postdocs will be affiliated to a fellowship programme, comprising a lengthy stay at one of the international partner universities.
“If—as a PhD or postdoc—you come with your own funding and your own project and are there for a few weeks, you often don’t become an integral part of the research environment. But if you’re there long enough to form part of the daily routine and have a co-supervisor with the international host, you get a different dynamic,” says Tejs Vegge.
In addition, the international partner universities will also send PhDs and postdocs to Denmark on exchange stays, and Padraic Foley from University of Toronto is looking forward to this. He is Director of Strategy and Partnerships at University of Toronto’s global initiative Acceleration Consortium and is confident that their researchers and students can expand their skill sets and learn from their Danish partners.
"Educating the future scientific leaders in autonomous materials discovery depends critically on their access to the global network of experts. Programs like the CAPeX and Acceleration Consortium Fellowship Program provide a unique opportunity to establish and nurture these kinds of connections, where our PhDs and postdocs can spend extensive periods abroad and bring back new digital competences," he says.
The first CAPeX PhD and postdoc positions are expected to be announced soon with a scheduled start in 2023, and hiring will subsequently be made on an ongoing basis. All the positions will be anchored at one of the Danish universities.