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International experts want to see a clearer strategy for Danish research and innovation

International experts have reviewed the Danish innovation system and stated that Denmark performs well but lacks an overarching strategy. The Minister for Higher Education and Science agrees and wants to implement a new, ambitious green pathway for Danish research and innovation.

Nov 18, 2019

Overall, the Peer review found Denmark has a well-functioning innovation system, but has the potential for much more concerning areas of strength being converted into concrete results. 

A number of indicators show that Denmark’s large R&D investments are not being fully commercialized and that Denmark has a relatively smaller share of sales of innovative products. Furthermore, Denmark’s innovation performance has deteriorated for some indicators in recent years, while comparable countries have advanced.

The international expert panel has a clear recommendation that Denmark should have a clear, overarching strategic direction that can raise the level of innovation, and maintain Denmark as an attractive country for research and development. 

- The panel’s recommendation aligns well with the Government’s ambitions. We believe that one of the primary goals for Danish research and innovation is to contribute to the green transition. Research and innovation are absolutely crucial for us to find solutions to the challenges facing our society. The entire parliament has recently agreed to earmark DKK 1.5 billion next year to green research and and development. This is the first, important step. I am now heading the the further work to see how the research and innovation system can be arranged to best support the green transition, says Minister for Higher Education and Science Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen.

During the past year, the international experts have examined how researchers, entrepreneurs and established companies can utilise and convert the knowledge created by educational and research institutions even more.

On that basis, the experts have provided ten key recommendations for how Denmark can improve its knowledge-based innovation system.

- The report shows that we have innovation potential that is not being fully realised today. We can do better. In Denmark, we use more than DKK 20 billion every year on publicly-financed research. And the knowledge generated must be converted to products and out into the real world to a greater extent. We must therefore look at how our institutions can have a better framework for their innovation activities and technology transfer, so that it can benefit the rest of society, and help Denmark maintain its position as a leading global innovation nation, says Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen.

Ahead of the final report, the international expert panel made two visits to Denmark, where panel members met with participants in the Danish research and innovation system. The European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility and the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, together with contribution from other ministries, provided secretariat support to the panel.


The panel has:

  • Evaluated where and how the Danish work on knowledge-based innovation can be adjusted.
  • Illuminated some of the best international case studies of knowledge-based innovation efforts, which can act as inspiration for Denmark.
  • Submitted recommendations for how Denmark’s overall work with knowledge-based innovation can be improved.

Contact Regarding the Minister for Higher Education and Science: Ministry media hotline: +45 7231 8181
Regarding the expert panel: Deputy Director Mikkel Leihardt, Danish Agency for Institutions and Educational Grants,, tel. +45 7231 8015 

last modified Nov 18, 2019