Foto DTU

Postdocs receive millions for international research

Biotechnology and biochemistry Energy Fuel cells Micro and nanotechnology
Three postdocs from DTU each receive EUR 175,000–200,000 from Independent Research Fund Denmark for conducting research at elite international universities.

Independent Research Fund Denmark invests EUR 3 million (DKK 22 million) in 16 young researchers’ original ideas with the potential to achieve strong results through strengthened international research collaboration. Three of these researchers come from DTU.

According to Independent Research Fund Denmark, the 16 postdocs will be part of international high-quality research environments for one to two years with a view to developing promising research in an optimal setting.

The international research environments add expertise within the researcher’s fields of research and boost the individual researcher’s career opportunities and influence in an international context.
The three DTU researchers receiving the grants are:

Theis Løye Skafte conducts research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and DTU Energy and receives EUR 200,000 for developing his project ‘Redox reactivated solid oxide cells’. Initial experiments have shown that electrolytic cell life may be extended dramatically by periodically reactivating them by pushing air through the cell. However, it is unclear why this is the case, so the project will look into this and subsequently attempt to make the technology commercially viable.

Joachim Dahl Thomsen conducts research at MIT and DTU Physics and receives EUR 188,000 for developing his project ‘Enabling the integration of two- and three-dimensional materials’. Two-dimensional (2D) materials are ultra-thin crystals which are 1-3 atoms thick. The project is to investigate the possibilities for creating defect-free interfaces between 2D materials and ‘common’ 3D materials.

Line Munk conducts research at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and DTU Bioengineering and receives EUR 175,000 for developing her project ‘Function of a new type of enzymes for biocatalytic lignin upgrading’. Plant cell walls are reinforced with a water-proof polymer—lignin—which represents 10-30 per cent of plant biomass. The conversion of lignin is a huge challenge in biorefining plant material. The project is, among other things, to identify microbial enzymes—β-etherases—which seem more promising than the enzymes previously used for lignin upgrading.