Aalborg University (AAU) has been part of the most knowledge collaborations out of all the universities in Denmark in the same way that we have the most technology transfers. This is evident in the report “University follow-ups on the evaluation ‘A close look at knowledge collaborations’” published by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.
Status on the strengthening of knowledge exchange
In 2014, Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education carried out a study examining Danish universities’ collaborations with the business community as well as technology transfers in the period from the change in the University Act (2003). The report put forward ten recommendations for initiatives that would help strengthen knowledge exchange with the business community. The Agency has now followed up on these recommendations and the results are available in the report “University follow-ups on the evaluation ‘A close look at knowledge collaborations’”.
Bigger sense of responsibility
Overall, Danish universities are more consciously aware to take on responsibilities of getting research out in the real world and make it useful to society. Two types of activities have had an impact on the progress: Universities have, to a greater extend, included students in knowledge exchange activities and they have made significant organisational changes for the purpose of creating better environments for making collaborations with business communities as well as technology transfers. Moreover, Danish universities have put forward specific goals for collaborations, developed dialogue and management tools, and set aside more resources for commercialisation of research.
AAU, especially, makes their mark in knowledge collaborations with society. The report gives credit to AAU for merging research, education, and collaborating with business communities, as well as aiming ambitiously high for this type of collaboration. The report, likewise, mentions AAU’s model for problem based learning (PBL) as it has emphasised networking with firms and public institutions for decades.
Room for improvements
For all Danish universities goes that a number of areas have not changed since 2014 – despite recommendations from the evaluation. This includes Danish universities’ credit structure that still makes knowledge exchange difficult – especially when it comes to knowledge collaborations, commercialization of research, postgraduate courses and collaborations with small and big businesses.
The report is composed of focus group interviews with pivotal representatives from each of the eight Danish universities. Rector, Per Michael Johansen, innovations director, Søren Damgaard, and Dean, Eskild Holm Nielsen, participated from AAU.