15 research talents honoured as Villum Young Investigators

With 15 grants, this year's new team of young talents will be able to form their own research groups.

Since 2011, the Villum Young Investigator Programme has supported ambitious early career researchers.

On the ambitions for the Programme, Thomas Bjørnholm, director of science, VILLUM FONDEN, says:

"The Programme was born out of the aim of creating the best setting for the best research. It gives early-career talents a platform for developing and testing their own ideas and the means to put together their own research group. The Programme is well aligned with the foundation's goal of continually promoting and advancing technical and natural sciences by focusing on the greatest talents."

The 15 scientists who will be able to add Villum Young Investigator to their CV this year come from the University of Copenhagen, the Technical University of Denmark, the University of Southern Denmark and Aarhus University, and each one of them is granted between DKK 7 and 10 million.

Since the first Villum Young Investigator Programme grants in 2011, a total of more than DKK 1 billion has been granted to 165 researchers.

This years Villum Young Investigators. Photo: Thomas Frandsen 

Choreographed computer networks and active materials 

This year's new team of Villum Young Investigators spans diverse research fields ranging from measuring the universe's expansion rate to choreographed IT systems and the role of active materials in key biological processes.

This year's 15 research talents were selected from a gifted field of 199 applicants. The selection was made by means of a thorough application process consisting of peer reviews, interviews with the foundation's expert committee and final approval by VILLUM FONDEN's board.   

International standing in a Danish setting

By supporting both Danish and international talents, the Villum Young Investigator Programme is instrumental in attracting and supporting a high international level in a Danish setting.

"Through the Programme, as a philanthropic foundation, our focus is on facilitating both research excellence and fostering and developing an internationally first-class research environment. We go about this in close partnership with the universities," says Thomas Bjørnholm. 

Peer network

As grantees, the 15 young scientists are invited to join a unique Villum Young Investigator community. This convenes the Programme's active grantees annually for 1-2 seminars on topics such as recruitment and research management.    



  • Professor Dorte Juul Jensen, Department of Mechnical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark (Chair)
  • Professor Charlotte Fløe Kristjansen, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen
  • Professor Owen Lewis, Brasenose College, University of Oxford
  • Professor Susanne Mandrup, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark
  • Professor Helmut Bölcskei, Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering and Department of Mathematics, ETH Zurich
  • Professor Bo Elberling, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen
  • Professor Duncan Sutherland, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center, Aarhus University
  • Professor Hans Ågren, Department of Theoretical Chemistry and Biology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
  • Professor Lars Samuelson, Solid State Physics, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University

The young, the experienced and the unorthodox idea

VILLUM FONDEN supports research within the technical and natural sciences.

If you have any questions, please contact: 

Michel M.H. Kristensen
Senior Adviser, Head of Programme, VILLUM FONDEN
+ 45 29 41 78 89