19 January 2022

Claire Meehan and Kenneth Madsen each receive the LF Experiments Grant of DKK 2 Million

LF Experiments

The projects that receive funding all have a highly innovative mindset, and they typically have a rather unconventional and audacious approach to the challenge they’re taking on. The money is paid out over two years and gives recipients the opportunity to devote themselves to the hypothesis they wish to investigate further.

Claire Meehan and Kenneth Madsen

26 researchers at Danish universities are receiving funding to conduct innovative neuroscience projects under the Lundbeck Foundation’s LF Experiments research programme. Among these are Claire Meehan and Kenneth Madsen from Department of Neuroscience. 

Claire Meehan

A breakdown in communication: Do motoneurons and microglia need therapy in motor neurone disease?
Associate Professor 
University of Copenhagen

Claire Meehan, associate professor, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen, has been awarded a Lundbeck Foundation LF Experiments research grant worth DKK 1,996,877.

Her project concerns the study of neuronal communication in connection with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This is ultimately a fatal nervous disorder that affects the motor neurons in the brain, brainstem and spinal column.

Kenneth Lindegaard Madsen

Revealing the network pattern of pain signaling in the spinal cord
Associate Professor 
University of Copenhagen

Kenneth Lindegaard Madsen, associate professor, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen, has been awarded a Lundbeck Foundation LF Experiments research grant worth DKK 1,990,900.

His project is developed in close collaboration with associate professor Rune Berg and seeks to map a neural network assumed to play a specific, key role in chronic pain related to the spinal cord.

About the program

Experience shows that, often, LF Experiments do not produce the outcomes the researcher originally expected. However, as Anette explains, the Lundbeck Foundation does not consider this to be a problem:

‘Because the projects have the potential to generate ground-breaking new knowledge in the field of neuroscience – and if you want to create something new, and you apply an audacious mindset to obtain it, there’s inevitably a risk that you’ll not achieve the goal you set yourself. That’s a risk the Lundbeck Foundation is willing to take. And another side of the coin is that although you may not achieve the precise goal you set, you may very well discover something else that could be hugely significant.’

In addition to its risk appetite – the hallmark of LF Experiments – the programme has a unique selection procedure that differs in many ways from the usual review process for research grants.

To begin with, the applications are reviewed anonymously, and reviewers only need to address the actual idea or hypothesis presented by the applicant in their written application. They have no idea who is behind the project or of the applicant’s gender. Furthermore, the selection procedure includes a “decisive votes” system – a kind of trump card. Each reviewer uses this trump card to single out an applicant who, in their opinion, MUST be given funding – regardless of what the other reviewers ultimately think of the project in question.

Thus, the trump card gives a chance to the particularly audacious projects – those the reviewers disagree on.

Read the full article on the Lundbeck Foundation’s website.