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 the Technical University of Denmark and University of Copenhagen. 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 2022

This year, the YIP Programme has granted a total of DKK 118 million, including DKK 16 million to YIP+ recipients.

Last year VILLUM FONDEN’s VILLUM Young Investigator Programme (YIP) was supplemented with YIP extension grants, also known as YIP+. These grants have been launched to ensure stable research careers for the very best from the VILLUM Young Investigator Programme:

“Our programme committee has been most impressed by the high standard of this year’s YIP+ candidates. Just four years since receiving their original YIP grant, this year’s four recipients have already proven their ability and determination as research leaders as they have established careers at a top international level. We hope that YIP+ will provide them with the stability they need to reach the next level,” says Thomas Bjørnholm, Executive Chief Scientific Officer of VILLUM FONDEN.

This year’s grants will ensure a stable research career for four of the most talented YIP recipients from the 2017 cohort, which may potentially allow them to qualify for ERC Consolidator grants or other funding of a similar class. During the selection process, there has been an emphasis on seeking out applicants who have demonstrated their talent with a track record of outstanding research and building up their capacity during the initial years of their current YIP grant. Furthermore, the successful candidates have proposed ambitious plans for their future research.

Meet the four YIP+ recipients

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

Sophie Beeren
Technical University of Denmark, DTU Chemistry


Harnessing the power of supramolecular chemistry to control enzymatic systems

This project will investigate how recognition between molecules can be used to change the outcome of enzymatic processes and obtain new and complex biomolecular structures not seen in Nature. From readily available starting materials, such as starch (e.g. from potatoes) and sucrose (table sugar), we will employ a series of enzymes to obtain carbohydrate-based materials with macrocyclic and interlocked structures. This grant will allow the recruitment of one PhD student and one postdoc.

Søren Hauberg
Technical University of Denmark, DTU Compute


Learning from learned representations

Machine learning has the potential to guide experimental sciences through the jungle of unperformed experiments to focus on the most informative ones. Current models can often capture the inner workings of complex phenomena, but they are hard for humans to learn from. This limits their use when forming new hypotheses about the observed phenomenon. This project builds geometric tools for interpreting and learning from density estimating models. The project hires one PhD student and one postdoc.

Kirsten Marie Ørnsbjerg Jensen
University of Copenhagen, Department of Chemistry


Metal oxo clusters as building blocks for future energy materials

In the project, we will study the chemistry of small metal-oxido clusters, which are potential building blocks for new energy materials. The clusters typically consist of 50-300 atoms, and their size makes it challenging to study the arrangement of atoms within them. Here, we will use new possibilities for synchrotron X-ray scattering experiments to study the chemistry of the clusters during formation and application. The grant will allow recruitment of one PhD student and one postdoc.

Kasper Steen Pedersen
Technical University of Denmark, DTU Chemistry


Reticular Spin-Architectonics

The past decades have witnessed a dramatic progress in spintronics but the race towards ultimate miniaturization necessitates molecular approaches. Single-molecule magnets (SMMs) have been hailed as ideal components, but no reports on embedding high-performance SMMs into conductive networks have emerged. Herein, we employ our command of metal-organic frameworks to tailor conductive architectures with stable SMMs capable of manipulating spin-polarized currents. The grant will fund two postdocs.

Who will be the next YIP+ recipients?

In April 2022, current YIP grant recipients with grant letters dated January 2018 will receive an invitation to apply no later than 12:00 on 9 June 2022.

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 around five may be awarded a YIP+ grant.

Michel M.H. Kristensen
Senior Adviser, Head of Programme, VILLUM FONDEN
+ 45 29 41 78 89
Anna Høxbro Bak
Communications Adviser, THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS
+45 22 64 03 55