Strengthening Danish research

AG shines a light on the new Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, Ulla Tørnæs, and one of her priorities for research in the country…

In February a new Minister took over responsibility for higher education and science in Denmark. Replacing the previous Minister, Esben Lund Larsen, who is now the Minister for Environment and Food, is Ulla Tørnæs.

With previous experience as a minister, Tørnæs has been a member of the Danish Parliament since 1994, and was Minister for Education from 2001 to 2005. Speaking about her new role, the Minister said that she is looking forward to working in the area of education again, which is an area “that is extremely important to Danish society.”

“It’s an area very close to my heart,” she added. “It is vital that we provide young people in particular with the knowledge and foundation needed to allow them to traverse the labour market and wider world.” In order to strengthen research and development in Denmark, the Ministry has recently launched a ‘Danish Roadmap for the European Research Area 2016-2020’.

The aim of the Roadmap is to help create more cross-border collaboration in research and development in Denmark, in order to tackle some of the great societal challenges. The Danish government believe that in order to solve these challenges, Denmark needs better access to the latest research so they can develop products and procedures.

Minister Tørnæs believes that Danish research should continue to strengthen cooperation with some of the world’s leading research and innovation environments, including those that are outside Europe. The new Danish roadmap aims to help to address some of these challenges and how Danish research and innovation policies can help develop the European Research Area.

The Minister has emphasised the need to collaborate across borders in order to strengthen research efforts in the country.

“The government has an ambition to see Danish research at the fore internationally,” she said. “This requires the use of cross-order collaboration to improve cohesion in the European Research Area. The new Danish roadmap provides guidelines for Denmark so that we, together with other EU countries, can utilise research. It will create growth and jobs across Europe.”

The roadmap contains 7 priority areas, which have been based on the EU’s common roadmap. These 7 priorities are: effective national research systems; jointly addressing grand challenges; effective investment and use of research infrastructures; and open labour market for researchers; gender equality and integration of the gender dimension in research; optimal circulation of scientific knowledge; and international cooperation.

The government highlights that the roadmap lays out the targets for 2020, as well as the initiatives and tools the country needs to achieve these targets. They hope it will help to kick-start dialogue on the development of the European Research Area in the Danish research and innovation sector.