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Danish cross-disciplinary research awarded DKK 212 million by the EU

Five research teams from Denmark will receive grants worth a total of DKK 212 million as the European Research Council awards 37 research projects with “Synergy Grants. Researchers from Denmark are participants in five of the projects, of which two tackle climate change.

Oct 17, 2019

Synergy Grants are awarded to groups of 2-4 researchers who create synergy through collaboration and combining different expertise and research areas to achieve excellent and ground-breaking research results.

The five projects with Danish participants cover a range of different scientific fields such as solid state physics, health technology and climate research. Apart from the recognition that the grants provide, they also help the researchers financially to achieve their ground-breaking research ideas through longer six-year projects.

A research team from Aarhus University will carry out research in the Arctic, where they will map and examine if the “DNA” of ice algae contains valuable knowledge about how algae has adapted during changes to the sea ice. It can perhaps help with understanding and predicting some of the consequences of climate change. Another team with researchers from the Technical University of Denmark, the University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet will develop super sharp 3D ultrasound measurements of the movement of blood, with the aim of improved and more precise diagnostics for e.g. cancer and diabetes in the future. These projects all have one thing in common – they involve top researchers from different scientific disciplines.

Minister for Higher Education and Science Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen is pleased that so many Danish researchers are on the list of grant recipients from the European Research Council. It is a testament to the high quality of Danish research.

- I am proud that Danish research is leading the international research field. It is important that we collaborate across borders, and solve these great societal challenges as one. If we are to achieve success with the green transformation, or in curing cancer, then it requires that the best minds from around the world work together to find solutions, says Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen.

Outstanding Danish participation

As part of Horizon 2020, the European Research Council is awarding Synergy Grants for the second time, and this year the pool is worth approx. EUR 363 million.  Funding is awarded to international teams of 2-4 top researchers, who can freely choose their research project, which can run for up to six years. Top researchers from three Danish universities and Rigshospitalet are participating in five of the 37 projects. The five projects will each receive between 10 and 13 million euro, a portion of which will go to the researchers in Denmark. In 2018, the ERC awarded almost EUR 250 million to 27 Synergy Grant projects, of which two featured researchers from Denmark.

About the grant recipients:

Grants to Aarhus University



Amount (euro)

Professor Alexandra Anesio, Department of Environmental Science – Environmental Microbiology and Circular Resource Flow 

Deep Purple:

Essential field and laboratory measurements of critical physical and microbial processes which darken the Greenland Ice Sheet and accelerate sea level rise


Grants to the Technical University of Denmark



Amount (euro)

Professor Jørgen Arendt Jensen and Professor Erik Vilian Thomsen,DTU Health Tech, Department of Health Technology 

Professor and DMSc. Michael Bachmann Nielsen, Rigshospitalet

Associate Professor Charlotte Mehlin, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen


3-D Super resolution Ultrasound Real time imaging of Erythrocytes


Professor Jan Henrik Ardenkjær-Larsen, Health Tech, Department of Health Technology


Quantum hyperpolarisation for ultrasensitive nuclear magnetic resonance and imaging


Grants to the University of Copenhagen

Name Project Amount (euro)

Professor Karsten Flensberg, Niels Bohr Institute University of Copenhagen


Foundations of nonlocal and nonabelian condensed-matter systems


Assistant Professor Kristine Bohmann, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen


Quantifying the impact of major cultural transitions on marine ecosystem functioning and biodiversity


Read more:

Press release from the ERC's website:

About ERC grants:

Link to the universities' news releases about the grants:




For further information, please contact:

National Contact Point Anne Overgaard Jørgensen, Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education,, tel. +45 72 31 84 51

Communications Consultant Nynne Jespersen Lee, Ministry of Higher Education and Science,, tel. +45 72 31 81 07


last modified Oct 17, 2019