Four Villum Young Investigators upgraded to YIP+

This year’s extension grants for the Villum Young Investigator Programme (YIP) are to be awarded to four outstanding researchers at Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen and DTU. The researchers will each receive an additional grant worth almost DKK 4 million. 

Grant sum and timeframe

A YIP+ grant is up to DKK 4 million and the grant period is up to three years from 2023.

This year, the YIP Programme has granted a total of DKK 142 million, including DKK 16 million to YIP+ recipients.

In 2021, VILLUM FONDEN launched YIP+ to help ensure stable university careers for the most talented Villum Young Investigators (YIP) at associate professor level, where it was difficult to find funds at the time. Next year, however, the possibility of additional funding will be closed:

"In the last few years, there have been more opportunities to apply for research funding for associate professors, and we have therefore chosen to discontinue YIP+ after this year. So the next application round will be the last opportunity to apply for a YIP+ grant," says Thomas Bjørnholm, Executive Chief Scientific Officer of VILLUM FONDEN.

Meet the four YIP+ recipients

This year’s grants will ensure a stable research career for four of the most talented YIP recipients from the 2018 cohort. The four researchers have all proven their talent for excellent research and have presented ambitious plans for their future research.

Below you can read their abstracts - click on the researcher’s name to see more:

Vito Foderà
University of Copenhagen, Deparment of Pharmacy, DKK 4 m


Protein Phase Separation and Solid Transition in Synthetic Cells (ProSeC)

Phase separation of biological molecules allows organization at cellular level, but the complex architecture of a cell makes the study of this process challenging. Inspired by principles in synthetic biology, we will study the physics of the phase separation of proteins and single out the role of biological interfaces. To this aim, we will combine time resolved imaging approaches and molecular dynamics simulations. The grant will allow the recruitment of one PhD student and one postdoc.

Martin Nielsen
Technical University of Denmark, DTU Chemistry, DKK 4 m


Bifunctional homogeneous catalytic CO2 hydrogenation

The anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 levels must be reduced and managed to secure a future sustainable society. The two main solutions are to store or chemically transform CO2. Our project is based on the latter with the advantage of turning otherwise undesirable waste material into industrially useful chemical commodities. We use chemical design on a molecular level to develop CO2-transforming catalysts with unprecedented potency. The grant will fund two postdocs.

Christiano Spotti
Aarhus University, Department of Mathematics, DKK 4 m


Geometry of collapse

Geometry is the study of shapes. Shapes can deform and stretch and, ultimately, they can collapse to lower dimensional objects. The study of such phenomena is becoming of central interest, in particular due to their relevance in other areas, such as algebraic geometry and mathematical physics. The project aims to investigate the collapsing of canonical shapes in complex geometry, where many different techniques can be applied. The grant funds a PhD student and a postdoc. 

Kristoffer Szilas
University of Copenhagen, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, DKK 4 m


Why did Earth’s first ultra-high-pressure subduction precede global tectonic stagnation and the “Boring Billion”?

This project investigates the approximately 1.8-billion-year-old Nagssugtoqidian mountain chain in Greenland. The area hosts unique rock units that record the most fundamental shift in the tectonic mode of Earth. By combining state-of-the-art thermodynamic modelling with detailed mineralogy, my team will shed new light on this pivotal time in Earth’s development, which had significant implications for the evolution of life. This grant supports a PhD student, a Postdoc, and fieldwork in Greenland.

Who will be the next YIP+ recipients?

At the end of March 2023, current YIP grant recipients with grant letters dated January 2019 will receive an invitation to apply no later than 12:00 on 9 June 2023.

Applicants’ salaries cannot be covered by these grants, and their host institution must confirm unambiguously that applicants hold a permanent faculty position or equivalent at a Danish research institution.

It is expected that 10-15 YIP recipients may apply each year, of which up to approx. five may be awarded a YIP+ grant.

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