Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Three researchers from Dept. of Chemistry receive Villum Investigator grants

Bo Brummerstedt Iversen, Karl Anker Jørgensen, and Henrik Stapelfeldt are awarded with a Villum Investigator grant for a total sum of 110 mio. DKK

2019.04.02 | Marianne Sommer

The Villum Investigator grant is awarded to outstanding scientists who have demonstrated international and groundbreaking research of the highest scientific quality for the last 10 years or longer. Department of Chemistry receives 3 of the 11 Villum Investigator grants awarded nationally this year. With a total sum of 110 mio. DKK, the research projects have a profound impact on the department.


Foto: Lars Kruse, AUBo Brummerstedt Iversen: Dynamic Crystallography, 39.754.817 DKK

In this project, Bo will exploit the new advantages of the major infrastructures in Lund (ESS, MAX IV) and Hamburg (XFEL) to take crystallography into new challenging and exciting domains. He aims to study real structures of real materials under real conditions in real time through development of Dynamic Crystallography, which is the title of this proposal. The project concerns studies of “the birth” (nucleation), “the life” (properties), and “the death” (degradation) of crystals. Bo will emphasize on development of novel pair distribution function (3D PDF) techniques, XFEL nanocrystal diffraction and coherent X-ray imaging to study disorder. Bo explains the significance of the Villum Investigator grant:

“The Villum Investigator grant makes it possible to really exploit the new opportunities we have in Lund and Hamburg. We may now investigate the nature of disorder in crystals, and harness new technological possibilities for materials design.”

With the new award, Bo plans to hire around 15 scientists during the next 6 years
(Photo: Lars Kruse, AU)


Foto: Lars Kruse, AUKarl Anker Jørgensen: Green Catalysis, 39.927.941 DKK

In Karl Anker Jørgensen’s project, the ambition is to perform novel and innovative research in catalysis at the highest international level. Karl Anker will especially look into new reaction concepts, where organocatalysis may facilitate reactions between two nucleophiles – yielding products through catalysis in an environmentally friendly way. Furthermore, he will work with higher-order cycloaddition reactions, with new methods to control peri- and stereoselectivity for the construction of large ring-systems.

An important part of the project is to generate new “growth points” to attract young and promising researchers from top-research institutions to start up independent research careers at the highest international level in Denmark. Karl Anker emphasizes:

“It is extremely important to create internationally competitive research environments at the Danish universities. With this award, we will attract the best young researchers, and give them a fantastic platform them to grow their talent.”

A part of the research will be performed in collaboration with a world-class group at UCLA, as well as at least one other group in USA.               
(Photo: Lars Kruse, AU) 

Henrik Stapelfeldt: Imaging the primary steps of chemical reactions, 30.241.135 DKKFoto: AU

Henrik Stapelfeldt’s research in femtosecond laser-based techniques is able to very accurately control and fix the spatial orientation of molecules as well as of weakly bonded molecular complexes inside helium nanodroplets. With the new Villum Investigator award, Henrik will embark on a journey to image molecules with femtosecond time resolution during fundamental binary processes. Imaging the formation of chemical bonds in action is a long standing dream for scientists worldwide. Furthermore, he will dive into specific projects to shed light on atomistic understanding of photoredox catalysis and of key photochemical processes that underlie organic solar cells, but also more physics-oriented topics like far-from equilibrium dynamics of angular momentum in a quantum many-particle system. Henrik is excited with the opportunities that come with the new grant:

 “I wish to foster a strong research environment, at the borderline between physics and chemistry, where my philosophy is to encourage, excite, inspire and try hard to make people reach their full scientific potential”

The research will be conducted in Femtolab, supplemented with activities taking place at the new European XFEL in Hamburg. Collaborations with several outstanding colleagues both internationally and at AU and in Copenhagen are established.
(Photo: AU)

Link to Science and Technology News about the Villum Investigator grants  

Link to Velux Foundations News about the Villum Investigator grants

Department of Chemistry, Staff, Public / media