Odd couples to strengthen KU research – University of Copenhagen

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01 February 2013

Odd couples to strengthen KU research

Research cooperation between chemistry and law, the humanities or the social sciences is as rare as a lonely termite. Chemistry professor Sine Larsen has just won a 28 million kroner grant as Principal Investigator (PI) for a project that will assemble chemists, jurists, humanists, medical- and social scientists in projects associated with the upcoming Neutron and X-Ray research facility established by the ESS, MAX IV and Lund University in the Swedish university town of Lund.

An eye into the deepest secrets of matter

Neutron and X-Ray synchrotron beams have complementary properties that make their combination perfect for providing detailed understandings of what substances and materials are made up of, and how they can be transformed by any external influences. Obviously, these types of answers are crucial for chemistry, biology, medical and materials research, but areas such as archaeology and paleontology can also advance in new directions with the help of these detailed answers. This advancement defines Sine Larsen new course.

“We want to foster partnerships between those who understand how to use the facility’s potential and those who have research projects that would benefit from insights at the molecular or atomic levels,’ explains Larsen.

Researchers across fields must learn to use kingsize facilities

The project’s overarching objective is for the University of Copenhagen to better exploit the possibilities of the research facility. In order to reach this objective, other skills must be nurtured. The project is designed to strengthen the University of Copenhagen’s projects from the undergraduate through postdoc levels and will strengthen UCPH’s interdisciplinary research and overall ability to manage larger projects. Furthermore, it will strengthen UCPH’s research environments as a whole and make them better at identifying commercial opportunities based on synchrotron research, research that will pave the way for future patents and ways to secure the rights attributable to these discoveries and inventions. KU can subsequently introduce these advancements to the private sector for an expanded array of commercial opportunities.

Wanted: Playmates

The large grant comes from the UCPH 2016 Excellence Programme for Interdisciplinary Research. The Department of Chemistry’s portion of the 28 million kroner amounts to roughly 5 million DKK. In its initial stage the project will involve 31 researchers from the five faculties involved, but Sine Larsen hopes and expects many more to become involved.

Most expensive microscope in the North

With a 20 billion kroner price tag, the ESS and MAX IV facility will be the most expensive research facility to have ever been constructed in Scandinavia and thankfully, it will be less than one hour away from Copenhagen. MAX IV will be ready for use by 2016 and the ESS in 2020. Sine Larsen expects that an army of diligent and cooperative Danish researchers from KU will be ready to optimize the research possibilities when the facilities open for users.