Foto: Vibeke Hempler.

Three new Villum Young Investigators

Thursday 06 Feb 20


Francesco Da Ros
Senior Researcher
DTU Fotonik
+45 45 25 32 77


Karen Chan
Associate Professor
DTU Physics


Thomas Olsen
Associate Professor
DTU Physics
+45 45 25 31 80
Three young DTU-scientists are honoured as Villum Young Investigators and receive almost DKK 10 million each to continue their research.

Since 2011, the Villum Young Investigator-programme has been supporting ambitious early-career scientists.


This year, 15 talented scientists have received funding from the programme and are awarded between seven and ten million Danish kroner. Three of them are from DTU.


Researcher Francesco Da Ros from DTU Fotonik receives DKK9,9 million to develop an optical processing unit for high-speed AI systems.


Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have the potential to radically change the way we live, do science, and process information. Most of the current AI and ML runs on electronics-based hardware platforms that are power hungry and slow. In this project, a new concept of an optical processing unit will be defined to enable faster processing speed and lower energy consumption. This grant will fund the recipient, one postdoc, two PhD students and equipment.


Associate Professor Karen Chan from DTU Physics receives DKK 9,9 million to develop computational electrochemistry for the sustainable valorization of biomass.


Biomass from waste and residues has the potential to be a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, which are the building blocks for fuels and chemicals production. Electrochemical conversion routes are advantageous since they allow for the storage of intermittent renewable electricity. This project will establish and apply design principles for efficient and low-cost catalysts for the electrochemical valorization of biomass. The grant will fund 3 PhD students, 2 postdocs, and computing.


Associate Professor Thomas Olsen from DTU Physics receives DKK 9,9 million for his research into two-dimensional magnetism.


For more than 50 years it has been believed that magnetism cannot exist in two dimensions (2D). Nevertheless, it has recently been demonstrated that the 2D material CrI3 is indeed magnetic at temperatures below 45 K. The underlying mechanism is, however, very different from that of standard magnets and a proper theory for 2D magnetism is still lacking. In the present project, he will develop the framework required for a quantitative theory of 2D magnetism based on computer simulations.


Om Villum Young Investigator

The Villum Young Investigator Programme funds particularly talented young researchers in the technical and natural sciences. The applicants must have a clearly defined goal for their research for a period of five years and the project must be of a scale that requires the establishment of a research team. For Danish universities and research institutions, this is also a recruitment tool to attract talented researchers outside Denmark. 

Source: Velux Foundations.


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