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Research grant opens up new international cooperation opportunities

During the spring, teaching staff at Health could apply for funding from a special funding pool to start new international collaborative projects. The level of interest has been so high and the applications so good that the size of the pool had to be increased. See who has received the grants.

2018.12.13 | Simon Byrial Fischel

Fourteen associate professors from Health have received grants from an special funding pool which supports the start-up of new international partnerships. Photo: Colourbox

This year, associate professors who undertake extensive teaching assignments at the faculty could apply for an exceptional grant towards research partnerships with an international perspective. Teaching staff could apply for up to DKK 200,000 for each project, and it was very much up to the individual grant recipient to determine how to use the grant money.

After the expiry of the deadline, it was clear to the Dean's Office that there was a very high level of interest in the pool. It was therefore decided to increase the total size of the funding pool from DKK one million to DKK 1.5 million so as to be able to accommodate more of the exciting applications. A totla of 14 associate professors have received research grants varying between DKK 80,000 - 200,000 for collaborative projects in 17 different countries around the world.

Working with the best
One of the grant recipients is Associate Professor Christina Dahm from the Department of Public Health. She received DKK 100,000 from the pool for a pilot project that will be carried out in collaboration with the University of Bristol to study the correlation between the intake of dairy products and the incidence of cardiovascular diseases.

"In short, we will look at the correlation between different variants of the genes that control our breakdown of dairy products and the incidence of cardiovascular diseases," explains Christina Dahm. "That’s to say, what is your risk of developing a cardiovascular disease if you have one genetic variant rather that another."

Our genetics affect to a high degree our metabolism of different food groups, and this is an a field in which the researchers at the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol already have a big head start.

"In Bristol, they have carried out similar studies, but focusing on other genetic variants which controls for example, the breakdown of alcohol. Collaborating with Bristol is an obvious move for us because they are among the very best in Europe within the static method that we will be using in the study. In the longer term, we hope that the collaboration can generate some very competitive joint funding applications, so that we can establish new research collaborations within this field," explains Christina Dahm.

Small grants can make a big difference
The size of the grants may sound rather modest, but they can nevertheless be of great importance for the teaching staffs’ projects, because it is very much up to the individual person to decide how the money will be used.

This is the case for another of the 14 grant recipients, Associate Professor Mette Madsen from the Department of Biomedicine. Her grant will be used in a project which looks into the mechanisms that form the basis for melanomas developing into metastatic disease and spreading around the body.

"The grant has given us the opportunity to set-up completely new and bold studies. Sometimes it doesn’t take much money, as long as you just have a little freedom to use the money to try out some things. We didn’t know what our studies would lead to before we started, but already now we have results that look really promising, even though the amount of money invested is very small," says Mette Madsen. "It's really good to see the faculty taking some chances and giving small grants to pilot projects that are a little more uncertain, but which can potentially really get off the ground, also internationally," she concludes.


Christina Dahm is also pleased with the freedom that comes with the research grant.

"The contacts that our collaboration is based on have come about via various conferences and academic meetings around the world. It’s always interesting to talk with foreign colleagues about potential joint projects, but often things don’t get beyond talking because of all the work needed to find funding and to start a new project. But with just a small amount of money to support us, we’ve had the opportunity of securing a tangible collaboration agreement for a pilot project with some very skilled researchers," explains Christina Dahm.

See who has received the grants

  • Associate Professor Mette Madsen
    School of Medicine, Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh, USA and Department of Molecular Biosciences, Section for Physiology and Cell Biology, Oslo University, Norway
  • Associate Professor Agnete Larsen
    Partner(s): School of Medicine, Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciences, St Andrews University, United Kingdom and School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen´s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Associate Professor Holger Brüggemann
    Department of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden and Department of Genomic and Applied Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Georg-August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
  • Associate Professor Christian Vægter
    Partner(s): Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, King's College London, United Kingdom and Anatomy and Histology, College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia


Vice-Dean for Talent Development and External Relations Lise Wogensen Bach
Aarhus University, Health
Email: lwb@au.dk
Mobile: (+45) 2548 8522

Policy and strategy, Administration (Academic), Academic staff, Health, Health, Grants and awards, Research, Technical / administrative staff, Department of Biomedicine, PhD students