Photo: DTU

Danish Council for Independent Research awards DKK 34.6 million

Wednesday 24 Jun 15


Ulrik Lund Andersen
DTU Physics
+45 45 25 33 06


Thomas Lars Andresen
DTU Health Tech
+45 25 37 44 86


Sune Lehmann Jørgensen
DTU Compute
+45 45 25 39 04


Sebastian Alexander Mödersheim
Associate Professor
DTU Compute
+45 45 25 35 91

About Sapere Aude

The goal of the Sapere Aude programme is to create career paths and retain the most talented young researchers in research.

Sapere Aude is aimed at researchers who want to pursue a research career and contribute to world-class Danish research.

Learn more about the Sapere Aude programme.

Four DTU researchers have been awarded the Danish Council for Independent Research’s Sapere Aude grants. The grants amount to DKK 34.6 million for research within such wide-ranging fields as a quantum internet, cancer treatment, dissemination of information in social networks, and IT security.

The Danish Council for Independent Research awards a total of 26 Sapere Aude grants to some of Denmark’s most visionary and leading researchers. The grants are awarded in the categories Sapere Aude: DFF-Advanced Grants and Sapere Aude: DFF-Starting Grants (see fact box below). DTU is being awarded two of each:

Professor Ulrik Lund Andersen from DTU Physics is receiving a Sapere Aude: DFF-Advanced Grant of approx. DKK 12 million, which will be used to develop components for a quantum internet—a brand new type of network which is radically different to the internet as we know it today.

The new network allows 100 per cent secure communication, and possesses immense computing power. However, to build a quantum network you must be able to control the microscopic world where quantum physics reigns. The ultimate goal of the project is to exercise full control of some of the very smallest building blocks or—more specifically—to be able to direct a single light particle (photon) with a single atomic particle. The idea is to steer the photon with an atomic colour centre in a diamond crystal, and to reinforce the effect by catching the photon between two nano wires. Such studies benefit the development of quantum information systems and can contribute to understanding the complex dynamics of atomic systems.

Professor Thomas Lars Andresen from DTU Nanotech is also receiving a Sapere Aude: DFF-Advanced Grant totalling approx. DKK 12 million which will be used to fund a project to reprogram the body’s own immune system and provide new hope in the fight against cancer.

Professor Andresen will create new state-of-the-art drug-delivery systems to bring immunostimulatory molecules to the cancer patient’s own immune cells and program them to recognize cancer cells. The background for the project is that the immunological environment in cancer tumours is regulated in a way where the patients’ immune system no longer attacks cancer cells. It is this factor which the project will change by developing new immune therapeutic combination treatments. The hope is that the research will result in new medicine which will ensure that all cancer tumours in a patient are treated by the patient’s own immune system, and that the treatment protects the patient against the disease returning.

Associate Professor Sune Lehmann from DTU Compute is receiving a Sapere Aude: DFF-Starting Grant of DKK 6 million for measuring and modelling the mechanisms behind the spread of information and its impact on social systems.

Spreading processes on social networks play a role in determining our attitudes, what we buy, and which politicians we vote for. Increasingly, companies like Facebook and Google are using complex algorithms to nudge us to follow their recommendations. When such algorithm-driven influences on society become more and more common, it is important for all parties—citizens and governments, customers and businesses—to understand how influence in networks functions. An understanding of these spreading mechanisms can be used to reinforce positive behaviour (e.g. exercise, safe sex, sustainability) or restrict negative behavioural types (e.g. smoking, obesity or intolerance), but there is also the potential for abuse. A better understanding of the spreading processes means that we, as a society, are equipped to make informed decisions about this technological development.

Associate Professor Sebastian Alexander Mödersheim from DTU Compute is receiving a Sapere Aude: DFF-Starting Grant of DKK 4.7 million for a project that will look at how to maintain IT security when IT applications are combined.

Every day we use internet protocols such as NemID and ‘https’ (TLS). Even though these protocols have been studied in close detail, it is still unclear whether they provide security when they are combined. Just as harmless chemicals can react and become toxic in combination with other chemicals, combining secure components may create an insecure system. Sebastian Mödersheim’s project investigates the conditions under which you can mathematically prove that a complete system is secure. The project also includes the development of a program that can automatically determine whether a given combination meets the conditions, so that software developers can quickly identify weaknesses in their systems and, once rectified, guarantee the IT security of the entire system. 

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