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Scholarships of great value for students and society

Higher Education Minister Morten Østergaard's speech at Novo Scholarship Symposium 22 January 2014 in Bagsværd.

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It is a pleasure to be here.

It is great meeting young research talents.

And I am happy to congratulate all of you - both this year scholarship recipients and last years.

The Novo Scholarship Programme has given you the opportunity to make the very best of your studies and to focus solely on your thesis.

But the scholarships are not only of great value to you - who have been awarded.

And it's not only of great value to Novo Nordisk and Novozymes - who now get to learn from you and your fresh ideas.

It’s also of great value for our society and business as a whole.

Novo Nordisk has stated that they will hire around 2,500 highly skilled people in R&D within the next 8 years.

There is no doubt that it is crucial for companies to have access to the highly skilled workforce that they need. If they don’t, there is a risk that Danish jobs are lost because corporate research, development and production move out of the country.

Last year more than 1,000 Danish companies said no to an order because they could not get the labour they needed. We can’t let that happen. The Government won’t let that happen.

It is our target that we must ensure that we do not lose one single job, because we do not have people with the right qualifications.

From day one the Danish Government’s approach has been: more and better education. We invest more in education and research than any government before us. The ambition has been to lay the groundwork for the brightest generation ever.

We need an education system that is responsive

Last summer we celebrated a record acceptance of students in Danish higher education.

We have more students than ever before. That is good news. The figures also showed that more young people are looking into science and technology. That is great news.

We need to encourage more people to study science and technology. And we need more to get a job in the private sector.

I'm very pleased to know that with the scholarships you are all now Novo Science Ambassadors - as Mads Krogsgaard just mentioned.

We need you to inspire younger students with your work and dedication. You are role models.

Yes, we need more education. But we also need better education. And I insist that quantity do not contradict quality.

We want to have an education system that is responsive to the needs of the industry and the society. And we need an education system where we challenge each individual to reach their full potential.

Two months ago we set up a committee to come up with concrete recommendations for improvement of the quality and relevance of Danish higher education.

Denmark is one of the countries in the world using most resources on education. But we have in the education debate lacked an important discussion: do we educate well enough?

A skilled workforce is an essential resource

A skilled and talented workforce is an essential resource for our business, not only for Novo Nordisk and Novozymes.

Just have a look at some of the other successful Danish companies – like Vestas, Grundfos and Coloplast.
Vestas can’t construct effective wind turbines without
intensive research and highly qualified employees.

Coloplast can’t develop medical devices and services to personal medical conditions without listening to the user needs – and respond with innovation and new products.

And you can’t be a global leader in advanced pump solutions if you don’t have highly qualified employees and if you don’t think ahead.
At Grundfos they believe that by 2025 - 50 percent of their growth derives from technology platforms not yet invented.

Research, innovation and education are the foundation for future growth and jobs.

All should be challenged

I guess that many of you will watch the Danish national team in handball playing against Iceland tonight. Surely, each and every one of the players has been part of a talent programme.

It is natural in the world of sports. We are far from the same tradition in the education world. The Government would like to change that.

It is our ambition that we must have a talent culture in Denmark, where students are given the best opportunities to realise their potential.

Today we make an effort for those who are not so good in school. That is important. And it will continue.

But we should not overlook those who want extra challenges. We should not limit opportunities. We should increase opportunities.

I want to improve the framework to strengthen the talent efforts in Denmark.

Last month we presented a plan for how we can ensure that all students meet challenges - enabling them to develop their unique talents and ambitions fully.

Educational institutions can now among other things, give extra credit points on special talent programs for students. And they can provide students with an award on the diploma.

At the same time we will improve the links between secondary education and higher education – making it possible for talented high school students to take courses for instance at the university. All should be challenged.

We must be open to the outside world

But we don’t only need talented Danish students. We also need international talent. And we have to be better at welcoming skilled international students and employees.

Therefore, the Government now looks through rules in this area, so the ability of business growth is not stranded on red tape.

The Government is also looking closely at the administration of the schemes and options available to experts who want to move to Denmark to work.

We have to remove barriers to make it easier and more flexible when companies need to recruit skilled people from abroad. International talent is mobile across the globe, and so is research and development.

It is the Danish Government’s ambition to make the best possible conditions and framework for Danish business. We need both to develop and attract talent.

Danish competitiveness and a skilled workforce

To sum up; to strengthen Danish competitiveness – which is how we create growth, jobs and welfare in society – we depend upon a skilled workforce.

To get there; We need more and better education. We need to improve our talent culture. We need an education system that is more responsive to the needs of the industry. And we need to be open to the outside world.

Finally, the Novo Scholarship Programme perfectly demonstrates an important fifth factor: we need private and public partnerships. The scholarship is an excellent example of research and education that cross the border between the private and the public sector.

The programme benefits all parties when it bridges between public and private research.

It is crucial having young talents like you to research and work in private companies such as Novo Nordisk and Novozymes.

We need close cooperation.

We have the same goal: To get the greatest possible return on our investments, and not least to secure future growth and jobs.

So I am happy to present the Novo Scholarship 2014. Will the 39 excellent recipients please stand up?

Once again, congratulations on your Novo Scholarships.

Well done.
Thank you.

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Ministry of Higher Education and Science
last modified June 25, 2024