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Poul Due Jensen Foundation extremely pleased with cooperation with AU

A prominent delegation from the Poul Due Jensen Foundation visited Science and Technology to see what the Foundation's donation of DKK 40 million to the Aarhus University Centre for Water Technology (WATEC) is being spent on, and to talk about other ways they could work with AU. Both guests and hosts could see great potential for further collaboration in the future.

2018.12.06 | Peter F. Gammelby

Esben Auken shows the guests a large metal structure on the lawn in Aarhus University's campus.

Impressive sleigh: TowTEM consists of two sleighs, which, using electromagnetic waves, map the underground in 3D down to 50 meters in depth in an unprecedented degree of detail while being pulled by an ATV. Professor Esben Auken (No. 5 from the left) answers questions from Niels Due Jensen (by his side) and Vice-Dean Kurt Nielsen. To the left Kim Nøhr Skibsted, Director of Poul Due Jensen Foundation. Photo: Søren Kjeldgaard.

Young lady in a lab coat talking to Niels Due Jensen.

Electronics engineer Søren Møller Dath showing Niels Due Jensen, Kurt Nielsen and Esben Auken, how the computer-equipped ATV gathers data from the subsoil via the sleighs. Photo: Søren Kjeldgaard.

Three men sitting at a table, listening attentively.

In Niels Peter Revsbech's sensor laboratory, postdoc Deby Fapyane is telling Niels Due Jensen about the nitrite and CO2 sensors that she helps developing - while Niels Peter Revsbech (left) is listening. Photo: Søren Kjeldgaard.

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The guests from Poul Due Jensen Foundation are listening attentively: From left to right, former chairman Niels Due Jensen, Executive Director Kim Nøhr Skibsted and Program Manager Poul Toft Frederiksen. Photo: Søren Kjeldgaard.

Collaboration between the Aarhus University Centre for Water Technology and the Poul Due Jensen Foundation is natural in that the Foundation is a major shareholder in Grundfos, and water technology as the core business of the company.

Shortly after the interdisciplinary thematic WATEC opened in October 2017, the Poul Due Jensen Foundation reached out with DKK 40 mill. (EUR 5.3 mill.), split between four donations for different parts of the centre's research activities, among other things within water treatment and the development of water quality sensors.

And there's more to cooperate on. This quickly became clear when the Foundation's former chairman, Niels Due Jensen, its director, Kim Nøhr Skibsted, and its programme manager for research projects, Poul Toft Frederiksen, visited Science and Technology on 4 December.

Visions and instruments

Vice-dean Kurt Nielsen along with Prof. Niels Peter Revsbech and Prof. Esben Auken welcomed the three guests to an introduction to WATEC's work and visions, as well as guided tours of the sensor laboratory at the Department of Bioscience and of the HydroGeophysics Group at the Department of Geoscience. At both places, they were introduced to some of the instruments that researchers and technicians have developed to check water quality and to map the subsurface.

The guests asked a great many questions, and even though Niels Due Jensen's engineering background was clearly apparent in his lively interest in the technology presented by the researchers, most of the questions were about the global and commercial perspectives of the technology.

Potential for closer cooperation

"I’m extremely impressed with both the sensor and mapping technologies we’ve seen here. Water is a core area for Grundfos; both finding water and treating it. There is a huge potential in the technique that can improve the possibilities to locate the water-filled layers in many countries. 

I don’t only see potential business opportunities for Grundfos; there’s also a huge potential for other Danish companies - and for AU. I’m sure that the Poul Due Jensen Foundation and Grundfos can work even more closely with AU in the future, not least on finding water in poor areas," said Niels Due Jensen.

The Poul Due Jensen Foundation's newly appointed director, Kim Nøhr Skibsted, stressed the importance of WATEC's research and development, both for the Foundation and for Grundfos.

"Just the fact that with your technology we can find water before starting drilling is a huge step forward, and it can help us in our cooperation with NGOs in developing countries. It's nice to think that with our modest donations we can create something that will be of extraordinary benefit to an enormous number of people around the world," he said.

Research and education

The hosts, Niels Peter Revsbech, Esben Auken and Kurt Nielsen, can also see great perspectives in the cooperation. They see the practical application of their research as an important motivating factor.

"And equally important, in addition to research and development, Aarhus University is helping educate highly qualified young people for you in industry," said Kurt Nielsen.


Read more about the foundation's donation to WATEC here.

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