DTU to strengthen collaboration with Australian University

A new partnership agreement between DTU and The University of Queensland strengthens research collaboration.

With a new strategic agreement between DTU and The University of Queensland (UQ), the partnership between the two universities in education, research and innovation is strengthened. DTU already has well-established research collaborations with UQ in areas such as quantum physics, food innovation, and biotechnology.

Throughout the next three years, the two universities will commit to expanding their Ph.D. collaboration and promote cooperation in innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition, the Danish-Australian research collaboration will be enhanced through workshops in common research areas such as bioengineering, genomics, health technology, water resources, and sustainable energy.

The agreement has just been signed by DTU Rector Anders Bjarklev and UQ President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj AC, who, together with a small research delegation from DTU, attended an event at UQ on October 14.

"UQ is a strong university which our researchers find attractive to work with, and which many of our students like to visit on an exchange, so no doubt the agreement will be welcomed by many at DTU", says Anders Bjarklev.

Professor Peter Høj said the strategic partnership plan – with one of the strongest engineering universities globally – will serve as a platform for connecting top researchers and students from both universities.

"I hope that this collaboration will pave the way for even more excellent research projects, joint educational initiatives, and innovation for the benefit of Australia, Denmark, and global communities."

Medical imaging

One of the DTU researchers who is already collaborating with UQ is Jan Henrik Ardenkjær-Larsen, Professor at the Department of Health Technology and Leader of the HYPERMAG Center of Excellence, which is supported by the Danish National Research Foundation. He is currently working with Professor David Reutens, Director of UQ's Center for Advanced Imaging.

Jan Henrik Ardenkjær-Larsen has invented a method called Hyperpolarized Metabolic MR. Hyperpolarization can, for example, magnetize the sugar pyruvate so it can be used as a tracer in MRI scans. When injected into a patient before an MRI scan, the MRI signal is enhanced up to 20,000 times. The novel advanced medical imaging technology is important for diagnosing; characterizing and following up on diseases and is a major step on the path to 'personalized healthcare'.

While Jan Henrik Ardenkjær-Larsen's research team uses the method to investigate the origin and possible treatment of Alzheimer's, David Reutens' researchers use the technology to investigate head injuries from trauma. The next step in the collaboration is to exchange Ph.D. students and conduct research workshops.

"It takes an international outlook if you want to continue in your research career. Such an exchange stay is super important for Ph.D. students. The collaboration is also very rewarding for us researchers, as we have a common field of interest focusing on the brain. We learn a lot from this," says Jan Henrik Ardenkjær-Larsen.

In another research collaboration between UQ and DTU Aqua, Professor Einar Eg Nielsen has linked Ph.D. students to the groundbreaking project Geno Jaws, a project that investigates what has happened to large shark species, the white shark, the tiger shark, the true tiger shark and the mako shark throughout the past 100 years. While DTU Aqua draws on a long experience of extracting historical DNA from fish, Australian scientists have significant knowledge of the biology, ecology, and genetics of sharks.