DTU Chemistry receives three MDKK grants

Monday 25 May 20


Günther H.J. Peters
DTU Chemistry
+45 45 25 24 86


Niels Engholm Henriksen
Associate Professor
DTU Chemistry
+45 45 25 20 29


Yi Yang
Assistant Professor
DTU Chemistry

Facts about the DFF funding:

  • The ideas are evaluated by 75 acknowledged researchers from all scientific disciplines within and across five academic research councils.
  • International panels contribute peer reviews for some of the projects.
  • About 150 researchers have obtained a “DFF: Research Project 1 grant” of up to 2.9 MDKK.
  • 1797 researchers have applied for a total of 6.5 BDKK, while 202 applicants have received funding for a total of 696 MDKK.
  • The success rate, i.e. the number of projects awarded in relation to the number of applicants, is 11%.
  • The Independent Research Fund Denmark is a public fund and distributes approx. 1.2 BDKK for original, risk-averse research in Denmark.

The Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF) has awarded more than 8 MDKK to three projects at DTU Chemistry. The projects aim to provide greater insight into how certain laser light can control the outcome of chemical reactions, how to improve enzyme activity in dehydrated media, and what will happen when CO2 is stored in the Danish underground.

In the recently announced funding round, the Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF) has chosen to grant 202 new and original research ideas financial support. Three of the selected projects are from DTU Chemistry, which pleases the Department’s Head of Section of Physical and Biophysical Chemistry, Klaus Braagaard Møller:


“It is quite the accomplishment to be selected by DFF, and the grants confirm that we (DTU Chemistry) have a strong and innovative research group in modelling and theoretical chemistry. The three projects prominently illustrate the broad scope of research at the Department, as they range from quantum control of small molecule behavior to computer simulations of the influence of solvents on protein properties to X-ray imaging and reactive transport models for studying geologic carbon sequestration,” he says.


Associate Professor, D.Sc., Niels Engholm Henriksen has received a grant from DFF of DKK 2,406,951 for the project "Quantum Control of Photo-Isomerization". He will, together with colleagues, investigate how the outcome of chemical reactions can be controlled using quantum technology, ie. a technique that utilizes the laws of quantum mechanics for atoms and molecules. A central concept in quantum technology is so-called quantum interference. Quantum interference in molecules can be controlled through phase-coherent laser light, and the goal is that this can lead to higher yields and selectivity in chemical reactions compared to traditional photochemistry. Read more about the project here (in Danish).


A DFF grant of DKK 2,879,024 has been awarded to Professor Günther H. J. Peters. In the project "Computational screening tool for lipase reactions in organic media", he will - through experiments and computer simulations - investigate the interaction between the properties, solvents and the activity of the enzyme. The results will be crucial to the possibility of designing enzymes with high activity in dehydrated media, which could make production processes in the pharmaceutical, food, and textile industries more environmentally friendly and efficient. COMSCREEN is a joint effort between Günther H.J. Peters and the co-applicants, Professor John M. Woodley at DTU Chemical Engineering, and Associate Professor René W. Larsen at DTU Chemistry. Read more about the project here (in Danish).


Assistant Professor Yi Yang has also been granted DKK 2,878,581 for the project "Predicting geochemically induced, microscopic defect escalation in geologic carbon storage across five orders of magnitude". The project will provide a more in-depth understanding of geological carbon storage, which is among the most promising ways to reduce CO2 emissions. During geological carbon storage, CO2 is injected into the subsurface and converted to dissolved or solid form through geochemical reactions with water and rocks. By combining the most recently developed tomographic technique with a new type of mathematical model, the research project will answer how newly formed subsurface flow channels occur during carbon storage, which is crucial for understanding the fate and transport of CO2. The project is based on storage in the Danish North Sea chalk and will lead to a better understanding of the safety and capacity of carbon storage in the Danish context. Read more about the project here (in Danish).

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