7 October 2014

Innovative and excellent research at the highest international level


The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is involved in 4 of the 12 projects afforded the status of Centres of Excellence by the Danish National Research Foundation, with a grant totalling DKK 700 million over the next six years. This grant affords the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences the opportunity to develop new research areas and strengthen its international position.

The four new centres, comprising researchers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Science, will each get between DKK 50-65 million.

The Danish National Research Foundation has allocated another DKK 400 million to four-year extensions of the centres.

- Economic investments like this afford us a unique opportunity to develop new international standards. It’s a positive spiral: our new framework will enhance our competitive position, allowing us to attract more international top-researchers, who can contribute to the development of new research areas and further strengthen our position, according to Dean Ulla Wewer from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

The researchers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences are attached to the following Centres of Excellence:

  • The Centre for Chromosome Stability (CCS) run by Professor Ian D. Hickson. The Centre of Excellence will be based at Panum Institute, and the research will uncover how the breakdown of genome stability causes age-related illnesses such as cancer and infertility. Professor Ian D. Hickson is affiliated with the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Center for Healthy Aging (CESA) at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. 
  • The Centre for Stem Cell Decision Making (StemPhys) will be established in close collaboration with the Niels Bohr Institute and run by Professor Lene Oddershede from NBI and Professor Joshua Brickman from DanStem. This new centre will afford the University of Copenhagen the opportunity to establish itself as a leading international centre in relation to understanding the identity of stem cells. 
  • The Centre for Intelligent Oral Drug Delivery Using Nano and Microfabricated Containers (IDUN). The two profiles from SUND, Professor Thomas Rades and Assistant Professor Anette Mullertz will be part of IDUN, based at the Technical University of Denmark, run by Professor Anja Boisen.
  • The Centre for Personalized Medicine of Infectious Complications in Immune Deficiency (PERSIMUNE). Clinical Professor Jens Lundgren will head a centre focusing on the development of personalized medicine. This centre will be based at Rigshospitalet.
  • Furthermore, Affiliate Professor Marja Jäättelä from the Danish Cancer Society has also been granted a centre of excellence, The Centre for Autophagy, Recycling and Disease (CARD). Affiliate Professor Marja Jäättelä is affiliated with the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

International star researchers as inspiration

The establishment of the new centres, CSS and StemPhys, is a model example of how purposeful recruiting and internationalising nurtures a positive spiral.

- I’m very proud of the fact that our two international star researchers, Professor Ian D. Hickson and Professor Joshua Brickman, are afforded the opportunity to develop their research and their international networks for the benefit of the University of Copenhagen. Both professors serve as great inspiration, both in relation to their high research standards and their focused attraction of outside funding, says Dean Ulla Wewer.

Professor Ian D. Hickson is affiliated with the Center for Health Aging, at UCPH, and in 2013, he received the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council. With this Centre of Excellence, Professor Ian D. Hickson will get the opportunity to expand his field of research and attach international researchers who will take part in developing the research into aging at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, thus establishing Copenhagen as a hub for basic research into chromosome stability and molecular biomedicine.

Since 2011, Professor Joshua Brickman has been affiliated with DanStem, UCPH, and in connection with the establishment of the centre, he moved a great number of his research team from the University of Edinburgh to Copenhagen. Stem cell research has produced pioneering results ever since, and this new centre will help the team make their way to the very top of the international elite.

More international profiles

The Danish National Research Foundation’s investment strategy has proven successful and an international assessment concludes that the research centres are indeed highly successful. Support for the applicants’ ‘dream projects’ is granted on the basis of their good results.

- I’m very proud that the Danish National Research Foundation has decided to invest large amounts of money in health-related basic research, and we will do our utmost to fulfil expectations, and our new goals in terms of both innovation and research will be at the highest international level, says Dean Ulla Wewer.


Head of Communications Anéh Christina Hajdu, mobile + 45 21 22 26 92