Million euro grants for galaxies, stars and computers – University of Copenhagen

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11 February 2015

Million euro grants for galaxies, stars and computers

ERC grants

Three researchers from SCIENCE have been given a total of EUR 6 million (DKK 45 million) from the European Research Council for their research.

Associate Professor Sune Toft, NBI; Professor Kasper Hornbæk, DIKU; Associate Professor Jes Jørgensen, NBI


Research into galaxies, stars and body-based user interfaces has received an injection of funding from the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grants which are presented by the European Research Council.

Funding for research in galaxies and stars

Two researchers in astrophysics from the Niels Bohr Institute each receive 2 million euro (almost DKK 15 million) for their research projects.

Sune Toft, associate professor at the Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute, together with two new postdocs and two PhDs who will be hired to form a new research group, will explore the evolution of the most massive galaxies in the history of the universe. His research project is entitled ‘Connecting the Extreme’.

“The technological advances of recent years have enabled us to study galaxies from the very early universe and this has revolutionised our understanding of the origins and evolution of the galaxies,” explains Sune Toft, who has played a central role in this new understanding.

The other grant goes to Jes Jørgensen, associate professor in Astrophysics and Planetary Science, who, along with 3 new postdocs and 3 PhD students, will spend the next 5 years studying the chemistry in the earliest stages of a young star in relation to the physical structure and the evolution of the star and its surroundings. They will examine which complex organic molecules are present in the clouds surrounding young medium sized stars like our Sun and will look at what the chances are that complex organic molecules formed in these stages might be incorporated in later planetary system.

Read more: Two researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute receive large ERC grants

Body-based interaction with computers

The last grant given to a researcher at SCIENCE goes to Professor Kasper Hornbæk from Department of Computer Science. Over the next five years, he will be working with his proposed research project ”Using Embodied Cognition to Create the Next Generations of Body-based User Interfaces”.

Recent advances in user interfaces (UIs) allow users to interact with computers using only their body, so-called body-based UIs. Instead of moving a mouse or tapping a touch surface, people can use whole-body movements to navigate in games, gesture in mid-air to interact with large displays, or scratch their forearm to control a mobile phone. Microsoft Kinect and Nintendo Wii are among the best known examples of how the gestures of the body can be read by the computer and used as input.

Read more: Large ERC grant for DIKU Professor for research in body-based User Interfaces