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New Educational Programme in Fermentation Will Strengthen Biotechnological Production in Denmark

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is awarding a grant of DKK 187 million to establish a new educational programme that will ensure highly qualified graduates specializing in fermentation. Fermentation is used in manufacturing such products as drugs, vitamins and foodstuffs and is one of Denmark’s most important industries.

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry is one of Denmark’s largest export industries. It has grown significantly in recent decades, and Danish companies have a severe shortage of experts in fermentation technology, which is the backbone of the industry.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is therefore awarding a grant of DKK 187 million to the Technical University of Denmark to establish a new educational programme in fermentation. The programme, which will be the first of its kind in the world, will educate many highly qualified MSc and PhD graduates.

The programme has three elements:

  • an MSc programme in fermentation educating 15–20 graduates annually with competencies tailored to the needs of industry;
  • a PhD programme training six highly qualified researchers per year; and
  • a continuing education programme comprising short courses that will enable experts to rapidly and continually update their competencies based on the latest developments in fermentation technology.

Dagnia Looms, Head of Strategic Awards, Novo Nordisk Foundation, says, “Fermentation is an important field for Denmark’s economic future. The Foundation’s grant to establish this new educational programme will contribute to ensuring education, research and innovation of the highest quality in fermentation in Denmark. The programme will also help to support the conversion from oil-based production of chemicals to more sustainable biobased production.”

Rasmus Larsen, Provost, Technical University of Denmark, says, “Managing fermentation processes is a bottleneck in many companies producing energy, food and pharmaceuticals. I am therefore delighted that we can now create an environment that educates highly qualified graduates for industry, strengthens sustainable production and bolsters Denmark’s leading position in biotechnological production.”

Fermentation has been used since antiquity and the Viking era to produce such food and beverages as wine, beer and bread. The technology has been developed and refined through the ages and is now used in the chemical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing of such products as laundry detergent, drugs, vitamins, food, beverages and many others.

This new educational initiative is expected to enable fermentation-based production to contribute significantly to achieving sustainable development. Biobased technologies reduce the energy required in production and have huge potential for biological decontamination of polluted areas, improving the use of waste and developing new materials.

The Technical University of Denmark will create four new academic positions in connection with establishing the education programme. This will strengthen the links between research and education by ensuring teaching of the highest international calibre.

The Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability of the Technical University of Denmark will collaborate in launching the educational programme, which will be developed in close partnership with industry.


Rasmus Larsen, Professor and Provost, Technical University of Denmark, phone: +45 4525 1010, [email protected]

Christian Mostrup Scheel, Senior Press Officer, Novo Nordisk Foundation, phone: +45 3067 4805, [email protected]