In a new book, DTU gives insight into the experience of creating the first university-based innovation hub in Denmark: DTU Skylab.
In a new book, DTU opens the doors to the innovation hub DTU Skylab, which was expanded with new buildings in 2020. The book describes DTU Skylab’s development over eight years, from a basement project to an international innovation hub, and details the wide range of current activities and startups that originated from the hub.
DTU’s president, Anders Bjarklev, explains in the book how DTU sees innovation and entrepreneurship as an integral part of research and education.
“It’s essential for DTU as an elite technical university that all our students and researchers help develop new solutions and technologies that can contribute to the sustainable development of society. Research and innovation must go hand in hand, which is why we on the management team have made it clear from the outset that it is both okay and necessary to spend time testing ideas. We did this when we established the innovation hub in 2013, and we’ve continued to do so with the expansion of DTU Skylab in 2020,” he says.
Marianne Thellersen, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at DTU, says that the expansion of DTU Skylab will boost the entire innovation environment, both internally at DTU and externally towards industry and other partners. She points out that DTU is part of an increasing number of international projects and helps students get their ideas out to a wider audience as well.
“Innovation in Denmark is not cut off from the rest of the world. That’s why we’re strongly committed to our partnerships with, for example, the Eurotech Alliance and Scale-Up Champions with a number of European players. Also, the UN’s Global Goals are key elements in all projects undertaken at DTU Skylab. We have a strong focus on sustainability, and we use digital technologies as active tools. On the whole, DTU Skylab feeds very actively into DTU’s strategy of developing technology for people,” she says.
The users’ place
Mikkel Sørensen, Director of DTU Skylab, has been in charge of DTU Skylab since its inception, and throughout its development he has maintained that DTU’s innovation hub is the users’ place and that they should help define what an innovation hub should contain.
“DTU Skylab’s success comes from our focus on building a culture based on some of the values we believe are particularly important for entrepreneurship: We believe in openness. We believe entrepreneurship should have a bit of edge and wildness. We believe in being ambitious. So when we do a hackathon or an acceleration programme—like hundreds of others do—we try to think about these values,” he says.