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Novo Nordisk Foundation enables life science students to improve their skills in Silicon Valley

27 Nov
2018

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a grant of DKK 7 million for a new project that will give Danish students a unique opportunity to participate in a 5-month project at a start-up company in Silicon Valley in California, one of the world’s leading innovation environments.

The project, which is unique in Denmark, targets MSc students within the life sciences, engineering sciences and other related fields.

The aim is to provide students greater knowledge about and experience in innovation and entrepreneurship. In tandem with the project process, the students will obtain insight in pitching, business development and other skills from many Silicon Valley experts in this field.

“Seeing the world and getting new ideas and inspiration are great for students. This makes them stronger and wiser and makes Denmark richer. That’s why this project is outstanding. Silicon Valley will inspire and challenge the students so that they will view challenges and solutions in new ways in the future,” says Tommy Ahlers, Denmark’s Minister for Higher Education and Science.

Birgitte Nauntofte, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation, says: “Denmark needs more people who want to become entrepreneurs. In supporting this project, the Foundation wants to contribute to helping more students become interested in research with commercial objectives and gain insight into and competencies within innovation and business development and thereby choose an entrepreneurial career path.”

Initial team to start in August 2019

During the next 2 years, up to 20 students – five per semester – will participate in a company project in Silicon Valley. The initial team, which is expected to start in August 2019, will be selected based on applications submitted in open competition. The Foundation expects the first application round to open in January 2019. The students will live in shared accommodation in Silicon Valley. The grant will pay for their housing costs, and the students will also receive a stipend to help them cover their additional expenses.

The project, called the International Innovation Project, has been developed in conjunction with Innovation Center Denmark – Silicon Valley, which manages the Project, including identifying and selecting the relevant companies.

Innovation Center Denmark is a collaboration between Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Higher Education and Science. During the past 12 years, Innovation Center Denmark has established a broad network in Silicon Valley and has excellent links with innovation environments.

About Innovation Centre Denmark – Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is the world’s leading place for innovation, with a unique ecosystem comprising capital providers, world-class universities and industries, including life science. Innovation Center Denmark serves as a gateway between Denmark and Silicon Valley, both for companies and for higher education and research. Innovation Center Denmark has been present in Silicon Valley since 2006.

Further information

Nadia Storm, Life Science Advisor, phone: +1 917 678 6273, nadsto@um.dk

Jeppe Dørup Olesen, Science Attaché, phone: +1 650 283 9414, jepole@um.dk

Christian Mostrup Scheel, Senior Press Officer, phone: +45 3067 4805, cims@novo.dk

The aim of the project is to provide students greater knowledge about and experience in innovation and entrepreneurship.

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