9 October 2014

Three new centres of excellence at UCPH


The Danish National Research Foundation has announced its new centres of excellence. The University of Copenhagen is looking forward to three new centres and funding of up to DKK 175 million. UCPH researchers will also be involved in several of the others.

The University of Copenhagen will host three new Centres of Excellence with far-reaching ambitions and the highest international standards. The Danish National Research Foundation has just announced that of the 12 new centres that have been approved and which will receive funding over the next six years, three will be based at the University.

“Only ambitious projects with potentially ground-breaking results and the highest international academic standards are named Centres of Excellence. The three new ones at UCPH conduct research with wide-ranging perspectives for combating disease, so we have every reason to be proud,” says Thomas Bjørnholm, Prorector for Research and Innovation at the University of Copenhagen.

The new centres of excellence will all focus on combating of disease. For instance one of the centres will focus on understanding molecular mechanisms that makes bacteria resistant so that we better can fight them in the future.

Dream projects

The stated goal of the National Research Foundation is to fund researchers’ “dream projects”, independent of private interests. The three new Centres of Excellence at the University of Copenhagen and their spokespersons are:

• Center for Chromosome Stability (CCS) – Professor Ian D. Hickson of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Center for Healthy Aging.  Unstable chromosomes are the underlying explanation for many human diseases and signs of ageing. The Center will conduct research into the causes of unstable chromosomes and seek to solve the puzzle of age-related diseases.

• Danish National Research Foundation and Novo Nordisk Centre for Bacterial Stress Response and Persistence (BASP)  – Professor Kenn Gerdes of the Department of Biology. The Center will conduct research into the basic molecular mechanisms of resistant bacteria and seek to improve the ability to fight bacterial infections. 

• The Stem Cell Decision Making (StemPhys) Center – Associate Professor Lene Broeng Oddershede of the Niels Bohr Institute. Stem cells have potentially enormous significance for recovery from previously untreatable conditions, but we lack knowledge of their underlying differentiation mechanisms. The Center will conduct research into a number of factors in stem-cell development that may potentially create particular insulin-producing cells and hepatocytes (active liver tissue).

The Research Foundation is also entering into contract negotiations with two UCPH researchers regarding the establishment of centres outside of the University:

• Affiliated Professor Marja Jäättelä of the Danish Cancer Society – Center for Autophagy, Recycling and Disease (CARD)

• Clinical Professor Jens Lundgren, Copenhagen University Hospital – Center for Personalized Medicine of Infectious Complications in Immune Deficiency (PERSIMUNE).

Six-year projects In total, the new centres at the University of Copenhagen will receive up to DKK 175 million. The three main applicants and heads of the centres will now enter into contract negotiations with the National Research Foundation to work out the exact details. 

The new centres will be established for a period of six years, with the option of an extension for another four years.

Read more about Centres of Excellence here.

Prorector Thomas Bjørnholm
University of Copenhagen
Tel. +45 35 32 26 04

Communications Advisor Anna Høxbro Bak
Tel. +45 22 64 03 55