New vice-dean at University of Copenhagen SCIENCE
Professor Jesper Wengel is a high-profile researcher, inventor and business owner. From 1 September 2023, he will also be the new Vice-Dean for Innovation and External Relations at SCIENCE – the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Science.
An experienced inventor will soon take the helm as Vice-Dean for Innovation and External Relations at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Science (SCIENCE). Alone and among others, Jesper Wengel is behind more than 20 patents. He is also the co-founder of several companies, including biotech company RiboTask ApS and SenseMyDiet ApS, which focuses on healthy diet and lifestyle. Combining research with patent and commercial perspectives has come naturally for Wengel for many years, and he sees no reason why this should not also happen at SCIENCE and UCPH to an even greater degree than today.
"With its broad world-class research, SCIENCE has a unique foundation for innovation that can spawn decisive changes for Denmark and the world. In that sense, a space has already been created to elevate results and innovation to an even higher degree,” says Jesper Wengel, who also hopes to bring his own enthusiasm for innovation and collaboration to SCIENCE’s research environments:
"For innovation to succeed, it is important that researchers feel that innovation is not only important, but exciting and rewarding
to be a part of. So, within the organization, we need to understand how to articulate opportunities and make it attractive to be innovative."
Jesper Wengel graduated in chemistry and biology from Odense University in 1988 and earned his PhD in 1992. After four years at Odense University as an assistant professor and associate professor specializing in organic chemistry, and at just the age of 32, he was appointed professor of bioorganic chemistry at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Chemistry in 1996.
In 2000, Wengel returned to the island of Funen and to the University of Southern Denmark as a professor of organic chemistry. With support from the Danish National Research Foundation, he headed the Nucleic Acid Center, a strong, interdisciplinary research unit. From 2012 to 2022, he served as head of the Biomolecular Nanoscale Engineering Center with support from, among others, the Villum Foundation and an ERC Advanced Grant.
Three success criteria
SCIENCE Dean Katrine Krogh Andersen looks forward to welcoming Jesper Wengel to faculty management.
"For UCPH and SCIENCE, it is important that our research knowledge is unleashed and serves to benefit society. This could come in the form of inventions or companies, or simply as a result of the many young people that we educate. Therefore, it is a great pleasure to welcome Jesper Wengel as vice-dean, as he has extensive experience in this particular development and is an incredible role model who has bridged the gap between the university world and commercial opportunity. I’m certain that his extensive experience and commitment will benefit SCIENCE, UCPH and society in general," says Katrine Krogh Andersen.
As for Wengel himself, there are very specific factors that will define his success as vice-dean.
"When I eventually come to reflect on my time as vice-dean, I’d like to be able to say that UCPH strengthened with regards to innovative solutions across the board. That we established new, exciting and viable companies which deliver even more sustainable solutions to benefit society in general. And I would like to be able to say that researchers have gained an even greater understanding of the fact that the interaction between innovation, social relations and research can ensure new research opportunities," concludes Jesper Wengel.
Professor Jesper Wengel
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