05 September 2016

'First day of school' for our new PhD students in the Copenhagen Bioscience Programme

Press release, 05 September 2016

14 exceptional talents enter new PhD Programme in Copenhagen - 4 will start at CPR today

This September, a group of fourteen ambitious, international students will join the Copenhagen Bioscience PhD Programme – an interdisciplinary PhD Programme within biomedicine and biotechnology.  

This initiative is a unique new concept for PhD education in Denmark with applicants applying to a programme and not to a specific PhD supervisor.

The fully funded four-year Programme is initiated by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and is hosted by four large research centres in Greater Copenhagen supported by the Foundation. The first year of the Programme includes short rotations between different labs and teaching at all four centres to enable successful student-supervisor matching and to expose the students to different areas of research and techniques.

 “The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is delighted to welcome this new initiative for attracting top-class international students to Copenhagen. The PhD Programme and its students will intensify scientific exchange within the Faculty and across all the centers. It will increase interdisciplinary collaboration and contribute to Copenhagen’s profile as an internationally-recognized Science City,” says Ulla Wewer, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen.

The first 14 students are from 11 different countries, including China, Russia, Peru, Turkey and Colombia. One of them is Lili Niu from China, who will join Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research at the University of Copenhagen.

“There are many reasons to why I wanted to join the programme. The centres comprise a wide range of expertise from which you can really learn and find collaborators in different fields. I expect to strengthen my scientific skills, and I look forward to the study and life in Copenhagen,” says Lili Niu.

Next generation of leading scientists
The Programme aims to produce a cohort of scientists that will be competitive anywhere in Europe or the US.

“This is a pioneering approach to PhD education in Denmark. The PhD Programme is designed to combine the best aspects of American and European/Danish PhD education, producing well-rounded, independent, critically thinking scientists in an optimal time frame,” says Joshua Brickman, Professor at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Section for Basic Stem Cell Biology, University of Copenhagen, and Chair of the Steering Committee for the Programme.

A maximum of 16 students will be selected for the Programme each year. When running at full capacity, approximately 60 students will work across the four centres, with the PhD Programme forming a common bond. Applicants must have a qualifying degree and significant research experience from outside Denmark.

Birgitte Nauntofte, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, says: “By financing this International PhD Programme, the Novo Nordisk Foundation wants to contribute to the education of the next generation of top researchers and to promote interdisciplinarity. Denmark must attract the brightest young researchers to maintain and expand the country’s strong positions within biomedicine and biotechnology. This group of ambitious talents will receive a top-quality research education in the Centers’ international and innovative research environments.”

An official opening event (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/official-opening-of-the-copenhagen-bioscience-phd-programme-registration-26098874436) will be held at the Novo Nordisk Foundation on September 9 with all 14 students participating. The press is welcome.

About the Programme
The PhD Programme spans the following four large research centres:

  • Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research
  • Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability
  • Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research
  • Novo Nordisk Foundation Section for Basic Stem Cell Biology

The centres, embedded at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and the Technical University of Denmark in Greater Copenhagen, employ more than 700 people. All the centres carry out free and independent research. Researchers at the centres work on ambitious, innovative projects at a high scientific level within biomedicine and biotechnology. The vision of the centres is to contribute to solving major global challenges such as diabetes and the depletion of natural resources.

The 14 students have been recruited through a competitive interview process with approximately 350 applicants. Selection is based on the applicant’s own achievements (education, research experience, motivation, recommendations).

Read more about the Copenhagen Bioscience PhD Programme.

Read more about the four Novo Nordisk Foundation supported centres hosting the Programme.

Further information:
Amelia Green, Coordinator, Copenhagen Bioscience PhD Programme: amelia.green@cpr.ku.dk