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Nordic Innovation Fair: a new speed dating event for Nordic scientists and international investors and businesses

Starting in 2021, the Nordic Innovation Fair will showcase the best early academic projects with commercial potential in the Nordics. It aims to become the leading matchmaking event across the innovation and investment value chain, covering the full spectrum of the natural sciences, including life science, sustainability, AI and robotics. The goal is to promote world-class innovation and have a strong impact on Nordic entrepreneurship.

Nordic universities rank high in scientific publications. This means that there is significant potential to translate early-stage research-based inventions into products and services to benefit society. To unleash the potential, the Nordic Innovation Fair aims to bring the right people together, including scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and corporate business scouts.

“With the Nordic Innovation Fair, we are creating a one-stop shop to show investors from home and abroad what the Danish and Nordic scientific communities have to offer. It builds upon the excellent research and the support structure at the Danish and other Nordic universities. It is an invitation to collaborate, using a formalized matchmaking event to accelerate innovation from research institutions into the real world,” says Søren E. Frandsen, Director of Research & Innovation at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) and a member of the task force on innovation and technology at Universities Denmark, the initiator of the Nordic Innovation Fair, which builds on the successful Danish IP Fair.

Unique matchmaking
Today, the Nordics offer only a limited number of matchmaking events that cover broadly across the life sciences, sustainability, AI, digitalization, robotics and related disciplines. Hence, kicking off in 2021, the annual Nordic Innovation Fair will offer unique matchmaking and networking opportunities by bringing together all stakeholders across the Nordic innovation ecosystem. The broad geographical and scientific scope will also make the event attractive for business scouts and international investors, who can get a first-hand view of the newest science and connect with the people behind it.

“We have seen a vibrant start-up scene emerge over the past decade in the Nordics. However, it does take time for investors to seek out the opportunities and projects in the individual countries and universities. A coordinated effort such as the Nordic Innovation Fair will give investors access to a larger pool of opportunities and ultimately make it easier for them to find the right projects to invest in,” says Walter Stockinger, Managing Partner at Hadean Ventures, a life science fund manager that invests in life science companies across Europe with a particular focus on the Nordic region.

The Nordic Innovation Fair will feature debates, keynotes, pitch talks and fireside interviews within the key areas of innovation. Abstracts of the business opportunities are available prior to the event to allow participants to book 1:1 meetings and attend relevant pitch talks.

Showcasing early projects
“We still see an imbalance between the opportunities that exist in Nordic biotech and life science and the capital that is available to fulfil the potential. We have experienced increased interest from international investors in the Nordics, which we are trying to accommodate by showcasing early projects with high potential. We expect that easier access and early engagement will lead to more investments,” says Mikkel Skovborg, Senior Vice President, Innovation, Novo Nordisk Foundation, which is supporting the initiative.

The objective is to see an increased number of finalized licencing agreements and viable spin-out companies coming from the Nordic universities, a more professional approach by university researchers to technology translation and increased branding of the Nordic region as a scientific innovation hub.

“Research in such fields as life science, sustainability and digitalization can play a large part in addressing many of the challenges society is facing. This also represents a significant commercial opportunity for the Nordic countries. We are happy to host the Nordic Innovation Fair in Copenhagen, thereby supporting new businesses in attracting funding and expertise and supporting existing companies in finding innovative solutions,” says Mette Fjord Sørensen, Director of Science and Higher Education Policy, Confederation of Danish Industry (DI).

130 business opportunities
The Nordic Innovation Fair builds on the existing Danish IP Fair, which hosted 350 participants and 80 business opportunities in 2019. By 2023, the ambition is to host more than 500 participants and over 130 business opportunities from research institutions in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.

Danish universities and research hospitals, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have already signed up to take part in the Nordic Innovation Fair in 2021. The ambition is to have all major Nordic research institutions represented. Participating institutions will be announced on the Nordic Innovation Fair’s website when they join.

For the three-year period from 2021 to 2023, the Danish research institutions are investing DKK 3.5 million in the Nordic Innovation Fair. The Novo Nordisk Foundation is supporting the initiative with DKK 9 million.

Facts about the Nordic Innovation Fair
Dates: 26–27 September 2022

Location: Industriens Hus (the home of the Confederation of Danish Industry) in central Copenhagen

Online alternative: if assembly restrictions due to COVID-19 persist, the Nordic Innovation Fair will be held online.


For more information about the Nordic Innovation Fair:

Nordic Innovation Fair: Katja Johansen, Specialkonsulten, University of Copenhagen, +45 35337240, [email protected]

Novo Nordisk Foundation: Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, +45 3067 4805, [email protected]