Science Round-Up: University steps up to help battle pandemic

Across Denmark, universities this week have been involved in a number of exciting new competitions, projects and studies.

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU) has again stepped up its COVID-19 testing capacity with a new agreement committing itself to the analysis of 10,000 tests per day. With roughly 30,000 tests being carried out on a daily basis, this will correspond to a third of the nation’s total capacity.

Since April, the centre has been analysing coronavirus tests for 14 hours every day, but with this new agreement a further night team will be added in order to expand its capacity.

Mass testing is an important part of the Danish response to the pandemic, and DTU have the facilities to ensure that more tests and faster analyses can be conducted. With cases again on the rise, such improvements will calm the nerves of many.

A schedule for victory
Two PhD students from DTU and their supervisor claimed victory at this year’s International Timetabling Competition. The competition revolves around creating an algorithm to resolve a scheduling problem and takes place over many different rounds and challenges.

Innovation unit launched in Central Jutland 
Aarhus University has teamed up with a number of local organisations and businesses to establish a new innovation unit promoting entrepreneurship and collaboration in the region. In particular, the unit aims to further develop food, health and environmental technologies, for which the area is world-renowned in its expertise.

DTU developing Arctic show home
A new test house has been developed in Nuuk by DTU with the intention of discovering whether it is possible and appealing to build houses with an indoor and outdoor climate under the same roof. Through the use of a special new climate screen, the team behind the project have created two separate environments within the same building. Over the next two years, researchers will test to see if such a building is beneficial to Arctic residents.

Fancy mould
According to researchers at the University of Copenhagen, Danes consider the development of mould to be an indicator of quality food and argue that there has been a shift in the last half a century with regard to perceptions of food purity. Where previously soil and mould were considered ‘unclean’, nowadays there is instead a new tendency to shun the unnaturally sterile.