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For planet and people

Minister for Higher Education and Science Jesper Petersen's speech at BII & Science Prize for Innovation, April 27th 2022

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Prize winners and guests

I am delighted to be part of the event today as we celebrate life science and recognise a group of its top researchers.

I am happy to contribute to this first award ceremony of the BII and Science Prize for Innovation. I hope we establish a strong tradition here today.

Today we celebrate science. We celebrate innovation. New ideas, solutions and technologies. All making a big difference to our planet and the people living on it.

From research to business 

I am grateful to have a player like the Bioinnovation Institute in Denmark. You are supporting a wide range of start ups who have big and exciting ambitions to change the world.

One of them works on creating disruptive liver implants that can maybe someday replace traditional liver transplants. Another makes cultured meat, which could make a sustainable alternative to conventional beef.

You also work with some of the top scientists at the Danish universities and hospitals. Who want to increase reproductive health, develop blood tests that only take a minute to process, and to create new treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases.

You are currently working specifically to create better solutions for women’s health issues – an area that is typically both overlooked and under-funded worldwide.

You are a relatively new player in the life science field in Denmark. But these examples show that you certainly already made your mark. Your continuous effort to support innovation within this field is vital for the life science industry in Denmark.

For years we have had excellent research. The results. But we’ve lacked the innovation. We’ve needed more entrepreneurial scientists in Denmark. And here you are. An organisation whose goal it is to turn research into start-ups and businesses.
I am very grateful for the support the life science field receives from you. And from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The Danish Life Science Strategy

Last year Denmark launched a national life science strategy that seeks to create better conditions for research and development. Denmark is a life science nation. And we want to keep it that way. To the benefit of our society, business and economy.

It is important to the government that we have a strategic approach to research and innovation laying the foundation for an excellent life science industry.

We want to make sure that Denmark is a top pick nation for anyone who wants to do research and innovation in the life science field. And we support this by our strategic approach and by public funding.

At the end of October last year, the government signed a broad political agreement on what we call the ‘research reserve‘ - a substantial part of the funding for public research on this year’s budget.

Among other important issues, the agreement allocates 400 million Danish kroner to support research and innovation in life science - particular non-commercial and patient-centered clinical research.

The public sector is the foundation

Denmark has a strong public health sector and thriving research environments in our public universities. Denmark is currently the OECD-country with the most publicly funded health research by percentage of GDP.

This is the foundation for creating a strong life-science industry. The public funded science and health sectors are the soil from which innovative solutions grow.

In the intersection between public and private. Between science and business. Across foundations, universities and borders. That’s where knowledge grows and where new discoveries and technologies find their wings.

Where ideas become real solutions for real people. Like the ideas we celebrate today.

You are making a true difference

The life science field is a shining example of science that makes a very real difference in people’s lives and for our planet. All three nominees today demonstrate this.

Whether it’s memory research that helps us understand prevalent disorders like depression and anxiety better.

Genome research that can improve cancer treatment.

Or new circular technologies that extend the shelf life of food so that we can minimise waste and make food production more sustainable.

By researching these disorders and issues. Looking for answers, treatments, new solutions. You are making a very real difference. For people suffering from the disorders and illnesses you research. And for all of us when you contribute new green technologies and solutions.

For the future and our democracy

Green policy is about our future and our democracy. As the horrible attack on Ukraine shows. I find the winning project today especially interesting because it takes on some highly relevant topics within the green agenda.

We need to act now to ensure that our children and our grandchildren have a clean and healthy planet to live on. Clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.

More recent events has also underlined that now is the time to make ourselves completely independent of Russian oil and gas.

It is the Government's ambition that Denmark's strong knowledge and research position is to an even greater extent translated into innovation, growth, attractive companies for investors and jobs throughout the country.

Denmark's innovation system – represented by all of you here today – play a key part in translating knowledge into solutions. Solutions that we need to export far and wide to make sure we have a safe and healthy planet to leave to the next generations.

Denmark wants to show the world that this can be done – a green transition – without side effects like unemployment and inequality. That a green investment is a great investment.

Thank you

Today we celebrate our prize winners. We celebrate innovation and science that make a difference for real people, solving real issues.

Thank you Bioinnovation Foundation and Science Magazine for your efforts to put Denmark on the map when it comes to cutting edge life science.

And thank you to Benedetto, Philipp and Brian who is representing Jacqueline today for dedicating yourself to this field. To making a change for the planet and the people living on it.

Congratulations and thank you.

 

last modified Apr 28, 2022