Fun Fact: The First Danish Astronaut in Space

When Danish Astronaut, Andreas Mogensen, takes flight on September 2 as second in charge on the European Space Agency vessel, Soyuz TMA-18M, he will be the first Dane in Space.

According to plan, Andreas’ mission on the International Space Station (ISS) will last for ten days, during which he will be busy applying new technology and conducting experiments connected to several European research projects in different fields ranging from electronics to biology. Andreas will also be the subject of research himself, as some of the research projects are looking into the effects of spending time in space by running tests with the aid of health sensors (for more on the interesting subject of health related technology, take a look at Henrik’s piece on wearable devices).

While Andreas is at ISS, two small Danish satellites (CubeSats) will be launched from the station. One of them was created at Aalborg University and will be tracking ships. The other, which was made by the Danish company GomSpace, can pick up flight signals and in that way enhance air traffic safety.

All of Denmark is following the mission closely, and students across the country are working on projects in relation to this great space adventure. Space exploration is an important driver of new technology, knowledge and innovative solutions, and it is a valuable opportunity for Denmark to be a part of it.

Have a safe flight, Andreas!

More information about Andreas Mogensen and the iriss mission can be found here.

The benefits of doing research in Denmark

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What is it like being a scientific researcher in Denmark? Why should you consider doing your PhD here? And what benefits does the country offer international academic staff?

These were some of the questions Innovation Center Denmark’s own Research Attache Mikkel Skovborg, who works for the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science presented and answered during the one day Destination Europe conference “Your Research and Innovation Opportunities” held in Atlanta on October 17, 2014.

In his presentation Mikkel outlined benefits such as the high quality of the research carried out in Denmark (Danish research ranks #3 worldwide in citations in scientific journals per million inhabitants), the ease of access to apply for research positions, the optimal funding opportunities and university-company collaborations.

“I really like to speak at these events because Denmark usually achieves a lot of attention – not just for the high standard of research but almost even more so for the easy way of life we are known for – with Danes being “the happiest people in the world” and the reasons behind why that is so,” says the ICDK Attache and continues:

“What also caught a lot of interest from the audiene this time was the magnitude and abundance of data that is available in Denmark across many disciplines. From energy usage to labor data, the data pool is gigantic,” says Mikkel Skovborg who urges our readers to contact him directly if they want to know more about the Danish research opportunities.

What is Destination Europe?

Destination Europe is a joint initiative between The European Union and its Member States. It is a forum for leading European research organizations and funders in which they present the opportunities offered to researchers and innovators from anywhere in the world. The initiative showcases the vibrant and exciting research and innovation culture in Europe and the opportunities available to researchers, from anywhere in the world, interested in working in Europe.

At the conference in Atlanta, top researchers from the USA including a Nobel Laureate gave testimonials, highlighting why Europe is an excellent place to do research with a focus on the Life Sciences as well as providing insight into living conditions in Europe and more specifically in Denmark.

Read more about Destination Europe here

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Universities Generate More Startups

One fact is for sure, the world economy looks rather complicated these days. Another true fact is that more research and entrepreneurship create jobs and growth. The good news is universities are ramping up their efforts to commercialize their research. Universities filed more patents, created more startups, and licensed more technologies in fiscal year 2010 than in prior years, according to a survey conducted by the Association of University Technology Managers. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that patents has grown from 3,088 in 2009 to 4109 in 2010 and the number of startups based on university technology also increased from 555 to 613.

One challenge many of the university based startup companies are facing is their early-stage technology that may not be an attractive investment opportunity for venture capitalists until their idea is further developed. Some universities are working to fill that gap by creating their own commercialization funds or providing resources to finance experiments or prototypes that don’t typically have a place in academic labs.

Grundfos Cuts the Ribbon to Innovative Water Technology Center

Niels Due Jensen, Chairman of Grundfos Pumps Cuts the Ribbon

Niels Due Jensen, Chairman of Grundfos Pumps Cuts the Ribbon

On September 20, Grundfos Chairman, Niels Due Jensen, unveiled Grundfos’ Water Technology Center in Fresno, California. The center will set the standard in water technology throughout the world as well as benefit the entire region, said Ashley Swearengin, Mayor of Fresno.

The Water Technology Center will primarily focus on innovative product research in irrigation and other uses for water. However, Grundfos is also opening up towards the industry and invites researchers and entrepreneurs to test and prototype their ideas. Further incubation and funding possibilities will also play a key part, and researchers will be able to take advantage of Grundfos’ strategic partnerships with the International Center for Water Technology at Fresno State University, the Central Valley Business Incubator, and PureSense, Climate Minder, Aquacue, and others.

Danish Professor of Biology gives talk at UC Davis

On Wednesday May 23rd Dr Karsten Kristiansen of the Department of Biology at the University of Copenhagen will be presenting a talk titled: “Transdifferentiation of white into brown adipose tissue requires cyclooxygenases” at a special seminar at UC Davis.

Cyclooxygenases (COXs) are the rate-limiting enzymes in prostaglandin synthesis and important in inflammatory responses. The COXs have also been implicated in the control of adipogenesis, and a variety of prostaglandins is produced in adipose tissues. However, their specific roles in adipose tissues are not yet elucidated. Here we demonstrate a concomitant induction of COX2 and UCP1 in inguinal white adipose tissue upon cold exposure. Our findings that cold-induced UCP1 expression in inguinal white, but not interscapular brown adipose tissue, was attenuated in COX2 KO mice and in wild type mice treated with a COX-inhibitor, suggest a role of COX2 in regulation of UCP1 expression during transdifferentiation. The importance of COX-activity and prostaglandins in mediating UCP1 induction is underscored by our finding that UCP1 expression can be induced by forced expression of the COXs and injection of a stable PGE2-analog. Finally, we show that inhibition of COXs attenuated diet-induced UCP1 expression and increased energy-efficiency in obesity-resistant mice providing further support for a role of COXs in the control of energy balance and obesity development.

Karsten Kristiansen is Professor of Molecular Biology and head of the Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen. The seminar will take place on Wednesday May 25, 2011 from 3:00-4:00pm at the WHNRC Conference Room #121 at UC Davis

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