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Agreement reached on grant programme for international talent

July 04, 2014
As part of the "Agreement on a growth package", the Danish Government and the political parties of Venstre, Det Konservative Folkeparti and Socialistisk Folkeparti have agreed to a new trial grant programme to attract particularly talented international students to Denmark.

As part of the parliamentary "Agreement on a growth package", the Danish Government and the political parties of Venstre, Det Konservative Folkeparti and Socialistisk Folkeparti have agreed to a grant programme to encourage talented international students to pursue Master’s degrees in Denmark.

The parties to the agreement will allocate DKK 25 million to the programme. The grants will be targeted at educational programmes within thematic areas that are strategically important to Danish innovation, such as the development of innovative solutions within food production, health and sustainable production.

- Denmark needs clever talent from abroad who can help strengthen our innovative abilities. We are looking to the top-class students who can contribute to development in areas where we already have strengths and where we have the potential to create new solutions to concrete challenges, thereby allowing us to play an even greater global role, says Minister for Higher Education and Science Sofie Carsten Nielsen.

The grants will be linked to the social innovation partnerships established between universities and businesses which have been established by the Danish National Innovation Foundation.

The programme will be geographically focused at students from non-EU countries where Denmark has established innovation centres. These include Brazil, India, China, South Korea, the USA and also Japan, where the embassy carries out similar tasks to the other innovation centres.

The grant programme is a key element in the Government’s action plan for the internationalisation of education titled 'Denmark – an attractive study destination', which was launched in April 2014 to attracted highly-qualified international workers to Denmark and increase the internationalisation of higher education.

Focus on Danish positions of strength

The social partnerships established by the Danish National Innovation Foundation are rooted in the Danish positions of strength and market demand. The partnerships involve close cooperation between business, universities and other knowledge institutions with the aim of developing new innovative solutions to concrete societal challenges, thereby creating growth and employment in Denmark.

Five social partnerships are being established in 2014 in the areas of maritime, early clinical trials of new medicine, water-efficient industrial production, building renovation as well as intelligent, sustainable and efficient agricultural plant production.


  • DKK 25 million is allocated during 2015-2017 to the grant programme.
  • The programme will see 60-65 grants being awarded to particularly talented international students from non-EU/EEA countries, which will cover educational and living costs. The recipients will also have ties to a Danish company during their education.
  • Universities can decide the size of the grant to cover living costs within a maximum framework that the amount is no more than SU and SU loans. This corresponds to the allowance provided under the institutions’s existing scholarship scheme for non-EU/EEA students.
  • Universities that enter into a social innovation partnership established by the foundation will be offered the opportunity to receive grant funding for studies within the partnerships’ thematic areas. The universities in the partnerships will set the detailed frameworks for distribution and recruitment of grant recipients.
  • In 2014, the Danish National Innovation Foundation announced a call for five social partnerships within the following areas: 
  1. Blue (maritime) jobs via green solutions
  2. Denmark as preferred country for early clinical testing of new medicines
  3. Water-efficient industrial production
  4. Innovatorium for building renovation
  5. Intelligent, sustainable and efficient plant production.

The five themes for the social partnerships resulted from a political decision related to the distribution of the research reserve in November 2013.

  • The "Agreement on a growth package" has also resulted in the decision to establish two further partnerships in the areas of Big Data and Advanced materials.
  • The grant programme will be geographically focused on students from outside the EU, where Denmark has established innovation centres or similar schemes, including Brazil, India, China, South Korea, the USA and Japan.
  • The grant programme will be evaluated in 2019 and will focus on the recipients’ transition to employment in Denmark.
  • Universities that submitted expression of interest in social partnerships in 2014 will be informed about the opportunities to take part in the grant programme.
  • The action plan “Denmark – an attractive study destination – How to attract and retain talent from abroad” is the second and final part of the collective internationalisation action plan. The first part, “Increased insight through global outlook” focuses on the international outlook of Danish students and was launched in June 2013.

For further information please contact:

Head of Division Lars Beer Nielsen, tel. +45 2086 0828, e-mail lni@uds.dk 
Press officer Carina Elkott, tel. +45 5090 0549, e-mail: care@ufm.dk

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