Foto: Bax Lindhardt.
Anne Ladegaard Skov. Foto: Søren Kjeldgaard/EliteForsk.
Sune Lehmann. Foto: Søren Kjeldgaard/EliteForsk.

EliteForsk awards for artificial muscles and complex networks

Materials Polymers Information technology Computer calculations
Anne Ladegaard Skov and Sune Lehmann receive EliteForsk awards for their research. Two PhD students receive travel scholarships.

Two researchers from DTU will receive EliteForsk prizes this year. The recipients are Anne Ladegaard Skov, a professor at DTU Chemical Engineering, and Sune Lehmann, professor at DTU Compute and Center for Social Data Science at the University of Copenhagen.

The EliteForsk Prize is one of Denmark's most significant research prizes, and five are awarded each year. It is worth 1.2 million kroner, of which 200,000 kroner is given as a personal honorary prize, and 1,000,000 kroner goes to strengthen the recipient's research activities.

In addition to the EliteForsk prizes, two PhD students from DTU receive EliteForsk travel scholarships of DKK 200,000: José Joaquín Aguilera Prado from DTU Mekanik and Frederik Rahbæk Warburg from DTU Compute.

The EliteForsk initiative aims to raise awareness of outstanding researchers and research results. In addition, EliteForsk will also highlight the researchers as role models to attract more young students to a research career. The prizes will be awarded by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science on Thursday, 24 February and presented by the Minister of Higher Education and Science, Jesper Petersen, and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary.

"It is a great day when DTU receives two elite research awards. The fact that it is also awarded to researchers from two very different research areas tells me that our scientists really can assert themselves. Whether it's about pushing the boundaries of solution-oriented, technical sciences or, through original ideas, illuminating our complex, digitised times, we are there. All thanks to good and skilled colleagues like Anne and Sune," says DTU provost Rasmus Larsen.

EliteForsk award for research in artificial muscles

Anne Ladegaard Skov has been a part of DTU since she started as a student in 1996. Apart from one year as a Cambridge University postdoc and one year at Coloplast, she has been a DTU-employee since 2001. She defended her doctoral dissertation in 2017 and became a professor the following year. She also heads the Danish Polymer Center.

In short, her research aims at mimicking the way our muscles work. The subject is rubbery materials that move when exposed to an electrical voltage. In more precise terms, she is researching dielectric elastomers.

Dielectric elastomers can have potential in virtually all contexts where mechanical motion is part of the technology. For example, it may, e.g. be in utilising wave energy, in pumps, valves, robots, actuators, generators, sensors, and in health technology.

During her career, Anne Ladegaard Skov has published 124 scientific papers and is one of the world's most cited researchers in her field. She has applied for a patent for 11 technologies, six of which have entered the market, and she is the co-founder of three companies. One of the companies is Glysious, which produces silicone-based patches that can release active substances to, e.g. skin or wounds.

Read the Ministry's profile on Anne Ladegaard Skov (in Danish).

EliteForsk award for research in complex networks

Sune Lehmann has a degree in physics from the University of Copenhagen, but has since his PhD studies at DTU (2004-2007) researched complex networks. It is a relatively new area of research that examines, for example, computer, biological and social networks.

After graduating, he spent three years in the United States at Northeastern University and Harvard University before returning to DTU in 2010.

Around that time, smartphones became everyone's property, and data from them - about people's movements in social networks and on social media - boosted his research. Overall, the goal can be said to be finding causal connections in complex networks. Therefore Sune Lehmann has had many possible approaches to illuminate human behaviour in an increasingly digital world.

For instance, between 2013-2016, he equipped 1000 DTU students with free smartphones in exchange for their data being used for research. The data collected in this connection are still used for scientific articles, e.g. mobility, sleep, privacy, and epidemiology. That last part has taken most of Sune's time during the previous two years.

Based on his research, he has been part of SSI's Covid-19 expert group for modelling. He has provided advice during the Smitte|Stop app development. He is part of the HOPE project, where he i.a. has examined the mobility of Danes during the various phases of the pandemic.

Read the Ministry's profile on Sune Lehmann (in Danish).

EliteForsk travel scholarships

One travel scholarship goes to José Joaquín Aguilera Prado from DTU Civil Engineering, who develops intelligent simulation models for heat pumps for district heating systems to provide services such as fault detection, regulation optimisation and analysis of flexible operation.

Read the Ministry's profile on José Joaquín Aguilera Prado (in Danish).

The second goes to Frederik Rahbæk Warburg from DTU Compute, who aims at teaching an artificial intelligence to tell when it is in doubt. That way, one may prevent future autonomous systems from making wrong decisions.

Read the Ministry's profile on Frederik Rahbæk Warburg (in Danish).

They each receive 200,000 for long-term study stays at research environments worldwide.

About EliteForsk

Every year, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science awards five EliteForsk prizes and up to twenty EliteForsk travel scholarships to some of the country's most talented and talented researchers and research students.

The EliteForsk initiative aims to raise awareness of outstanding researchers and research results. In addition, EliteForsk must also highlight the researchers as role models to attract more young students to a research career.

The awards are presented at the annual EliteForsk award ceremony. The Minister of Higher Education and Science, the Royal Family and Danish research community representatives participate.

Source: Ministry of Higher Education and Science.