Four researchers with a connection to the DNRF receive Sapere Aude grants from the Independent Research Fund Denmark

05. January 2019

Recently, 34 researchers received the good news that they will become Sapere Aude research leaders, with grants from the Independent Research Fund Denmark. Four of the 34 recipients are connected with the DNRF’s Centers of Excellence.

A new generation of 34 talented researchers have received the prestigious Sapere Aude grant from the Independent Research Fund Denmark, which aims to give researchers in Denmark the opportunity to pursue important research ideas in-depth. The grants are especially targeted to young researchers who, because of the grant, will be able to lead their own research teams and pursue research on a high international level. In the most recent grant application round, 322 researchers applied, and out of the 34 who made it through the eye of the needle, four researchers have a connection to the DNRF’s Centers of Excellence.

The four up-and-coming Sapere Aude research leaders with a connection to the DNRF are:

Assistant professor Mikkel Bentzon-Tilia from CeMiSt (Grant received: 5.864.976 DKK)

Mikkel Bentzon-Tilia’s research project, “The Bright Side of Microbial Dark Matter: An Untapped Source of Novel Natural Products,” strives to isolate new antibiotics among so-called “microbial dark matter.” Microbial dark matter refers to the unexploited material of potential antibiotics in the environment that constitute 99% of the pool of bioactive substances. Most antibiotics are based on natural substances isolated from cultivable microorganisms, and one obstacle to the development of new antibiotics is that we can grow less than 1% of bacteria from the environment. Therefore, Bentzon-Tilia’s ambition is to develop new independent methods to grow and thereby isolate new bacteria from the environment and thus make way for new antibiotics.

Read more about Mikkel Bentzon-Tilia’s research project at the Independent Research Fund Denmark here.

Associate professor Urska Sadl from iCourts (Grant received: 5.869.562 DKK)

In her research project, “Judging under the Influence: A Critical Review of the Influence of Legal Actors on the Jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union,” Urska Sadl will investigate how law and society interact through courthouses. The project will take its point of departure in the European Court of Justice, which is the highest tribunal in the European Union (EU). More specifically, the research project will examine how judicial actors – such as civil servants or judges – influence the way in which the Court of Justice translates societal conflicts regarding the economy, social protection, and privacy. Despite the fact that the Court of Justice affects hundreds of institutions in the EU, thousands of civil servants, and millions of citizens, our knowledge of how the Court of Justice reaches these determinations is very limited, and it is this limitation that Sadl will study in her research project.

Read more about Urska Sadl’s research project here.

Associate Professor Irene Tamborra from DISCOVERY (Grant received: 5.903.247 DKK)

Irene Tamborra’s research project, “Compact Astrophysical Objects and Neutrinos,” examines elementary particles called neutrinos and their fundamental role in the universe’s compact objects such as neutron stars or black holes. These compact objects are extremely heavy and are considered one of the most important mechanisms behind the so-called “cosmic fireworks” that emerge when massive stars die. Black holes and neutron stars are still surrounded by great mystery, but with her research project, Tamborra hopes she can shed some light on neutrinos’ impact on the creation of heavy elements with these compact sources.

Read more about Irene Tamborra’s research project here.

Associate Professor Sine Lo Svenningsen from BASP (Grant received: 5.821.632 DKK)

With the research project “Growth Regulation by tRNA and tRNA-Related Small RNAs in Bacteria,” Sine Lo Svenningsen wants to study so-called tRNAs, which are small but essential RNA molecules that can be found by the hundreds of thousands in every cell. They function as “translators” between a specific code in the DNA and the corresponding amino acid. Based on the discovery that bacteria actively deteriorate surplus tRNA so that the bacteria constantly create a balance between supply and demand, Svenningsen’s ambition is to reveal how this deteriorating process works and to map what consequences the process has for the cells.

Read more about Sine Lo Svenningsen’s research project here.

More information about the new generation of Sapere Aude recipients at the Independent Research Fund Denmark can be found here (in Danish).