New Villum Investigator at the Department

VILLUM FONDEN has selected Professor Lars Birkedal to become a Villum Investigator. With this honor comes a grant of DKK 35.4 million to set up the Center for Basic Research in Program Verification (CPV) at the Department of Computer science, Aarhus University.

Professor Lars Birkedal

Lars Birkedal has received DKK 35.4 M to create and run an internationally leading Center for Basic Research in Program Verification (CPV) over the next six years. The center will employ approximately 8 PhD students and 7 postdocs. CPV will build on Birkedal’s recent breakthrough results in program verification for modern software systems. Software systems are an integral part of modern society, and software errors and security breaches pose enormous costs and risks. CPV will develop new mathematically based models and logics that will improve correctness and security of software systems.

What began as a field of 80 applicants to become the next Villum Investigators, has ended with 11 leading science and technology researchers who – in total - will receive DKK 410 million from VILLUM FONDEN.  “Each of the 11 excels in their field, and they all fulfill to the utmost the requirements for being selected as a Villum Investigator. By combining intellectual curiosity, talent, experience and ability to bring together talented scientists, they have managed to establish, develop, and foster international research groups and make significant contributions to science and technology, and, by extension, to the world we live in,” says Thomas Bjørnholm, executive chief scientific officer at VILLUM FONDEN.

A ceremony celebrating the selection of the new Villum Investigators will be held on 2 May at the Villum Window Collection, in Søborg, Denmark. The Minister of Higher Education and Science, Tommy Ahlers, will participate in the celebration.

About Lars Birkedal: Lars Birkedal (47), Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University (USA), is a recognized professor in Computer Science from Aarhus University, where he heads the Logic and Semantics research group. In 2017, Lars Birkedal was named ACM fellow, and in 2016 he was elected member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. In 2015 he received the EliteForsk Prize from the Danish Ministry of Research. Privately, Lars lives in Risskov with his wife and two children. More info at:


About Villum Investigator Programme:

  • The Villum Investigator Programme was created for experienced and internationally recognised scientists who have the potential to make a significant contribution to developments in science or technology at a Danish university.
  • Villum Investigators can receive six-year grants of up to DKK 40 million. After a period, it is possible to apply again in competition with other applicants.
  • New Villum Investigators are selected every other year. The inaugural group was selected in 2017. The third will be selected in 2021.
  • The programme received 80 applicants to be selected as part of the current group. Five applications were submitted by women.
  • 28 applicants, incl. five women, were shortlisted for peer review and interview.


Villum Investigators 2019

  • Lars Birkedal, Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University, DKK 35.4m
  • Karl Anker Jørgensen, Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University, DKK 39.9m (2000 recipient of the Villum Kann Rasmussen Annual Award)
  • Bo Brummerstedt Iversen, Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University, DKK 39.8m
  • Henrik Stapelfeldt, Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University, DKK 30.2m
  • Yong P Chen, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, DKK 40m
  • Carsten Rahbek, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, DKK 40m (2013 recipient of the Villum Kann Rasmussen Annual Award)
  • Staffan Persson, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DKK 40m
  • Eugene Simon Polzik, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, DKK 30.3m
  • Guojie Zhang, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, DKK 40m
  • Josep M Guerrero, Department of Energy Technology, Aalborg University, DKK 39.2m
  • Per Christian Hansen, DTU Compute, Technical University of Denmark, DKK 34.9m