EliteForsk honours PhD students from DTU

Monday 29 Feb 16

At the annual EliteForsk conference, three PhD students from DTU received travel grants of DKK 200,000 for research stays abroad. The conference also praised the recipients of the Sapere Aude grants, which counted four DTU researchers.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek formed the backdrop as HRH Crown Princess Mary and the Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, Esben Lunde Larsen, on Thursday, 25 February presented the EliteForsk awards to the elite of the Danish researchers that were gathered in the Ceremonial Hall with family and colleagues. EliteForsk recognizes some of Denmark's most talented researchers who set the bar high and strive to be the best in their individual fields.

Twenty of the awards were travel grants presented to talented PhD researchers. Among the award winners were three young researchers from DTU: Jesper Graa Andreasen from DTU Mechanical Engineering, Jonas Tobias Karlsen from DTU Physics, and Sofie Thage Morthensen from DTU Chemical Engineering.

“We need you to venture out an be inspired and then come back and take our research and programmes to new heights,” said Esben Lunde Larsen to the travel grant recipients in his opening speech at the conference. And there is no doubt that the grants can provide the recipients with new knowledge and new ideas:

“It will give me more horizon to get out and experience other research environments,” said one of DTU’s award winners, Sofie Thage Morthensen, and she made it clear that the grant gives her great opportunities. She is considering a stay with a research group at the KU Leuven university in Belgium. A group similar to her own group, but which employs other methods and does experiments on a larger scale.  

In addition to the 20 grant recipients, recipients of the Danish Council for Independent Research’s Sapere Aude grants 2015 were honoured at the conference. Two of the recipients of DFF-Advanced grants are Professor Thomas L. Andresen from DTU Nanotech and Professor Ulrik Lund Andersen from DTU Physics, while Associate Professors Sune Lehman and Sebastian Alexander Mödersheim from DTU Compute received DFF-Grants. Read more about the Sapere Aude recipients 2015 here: Sapere Aude: Danish Council for Independent Research awards DKK 34.6 million.

Read more about the research of the three grant recipients here:

Jesper Graa Andreasen:

Jesper works with developing technologies that can be used to convert low-temperature heat into electricity. Waste products from industrial processes, for example hot exhaust gases from a combustion engine or hot water left over from dairy milk pasteurization processes are examples of low-temperature heat which can be converted into electricity. The focus of the PhD project is the thermodynamic circuit process, Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC), which consists of heat exchangers, a pump, and a turbine. In the ORC process, an organic fluid (liquid/gas) is circulated whereby a waste heat input can be converted into electricity. The selection of the organic fluid is essential for the efficiency of the ORC system, and the process can be optimized by using mixtures rather than pure fluids. The main theme in my PhD project is thus exploitation of fluid mixtures in ORC systems for the recovery of waste heat from engines, which represents a new and promising research area.

Jonas Tobias Karlsen:
Jonas researches in the theoretical understanding of ultrasound in liquids and their use for controlled management of micro and nanoparticles, e.g. cells and bacteria. Over the past decade, ultrasound treatment of particles in microchannels has been introduced in biotechnology with considerable success, and has proven ideal for ‘finding a needle in a haystack’, which in popular terms describes the challenge of detecting circulating cancer cells or bacteria in the blood at an early stage. The aim of his research is to gain a theoretical understanding of how sound waves affect liquids and particles, and how such forces can be exploited in biotechnology applications. To obtain the latter, Jonas Tobias Karlsen gives high priority to close collaboration with experimental research groups, so that theory and practice can go hand in hand.

Sofie Thage Morthensen:

Sofie’s PhD project is to develop new reactive membrane processes for the separation of sugar molecules in biorefineries. As the world’s population is growing, the need for alternative resources increases. An alternative resource could, for example, be straw which is already a residual product in the agricultural sector. When the straw is processed, different sugar molecules are released, each of which is used for the manufacture of various valuable products. Despite their different chemical functions, the structure of the sugars are, however, very much alike, which makes it difficult to separate them. Membranes are super selective materials that have the potential to separate such very substances. The membrane allows transport of some molecules while preventing the transport of others on the basis of their different chemical properties such as size and electrical charge. In addition, by modifying the properties of the sugar molecules through chemical reactions catalyzed by enzymes, the membrane selectivity is further improved.


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