On April 3-4, Minister for Higher Education & Science, Ulla Tørnæs, paid a visit in the Valley. Here is a summary of some of the great activities the Minister went to during her stay in Silicon Valley:
1. DANISH AMERICAN FRONTIER AWARD 2016
2. OPENING CEREMONY FOR VILLUM CENTER FOR SCIENCE OF SUSTAINABLE FUELS AND CHEMICALS AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY
3. LAUNCH OF WATER TECHNOLOGY ALLIANCE (WTA)
1) DANISH AMERICAN FRONTIER AWARD 2016
On Sunday April 3, around 230 people, Danish and American business representatives and members of DACC, joined the Danish American Frontier Award 2016 (DAF Award) which took place at Intercontinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco. The purpose of the event was to recognise a person or group of persons who have distinguished themselves by their actions, exploration or presence in areas of leadership, business, commerce, service, science, technology, invention, arts or humanitarian ventures and is the most prestigious honor awarded by the Danish American community in the western United States.
Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO of LEGO Group was the winner of the DAF Award ‘16. The Danish Minister of Higher Education and Science, Ulla Tørnæs gave the price and stated “I would like to congratulate Jørgen Vig Knudstorp for the excellent price. He is a role model for many and the only director I know who can dance, sing and develop a presentation at once”.
The award recognizes the leadership of Jørgen Vig Knudstorp and the work the LEGO Group has done to build essential 21st century skills. The LEGO Group inspires and develops the builders of tomorrow. More than 17,000 LEGO colleagues around the world work every day to bring fun and creative LEGO experiences to children all over the world, and they recognize how important play is for the development of children. Children’s playfulness and curiosity, their eagerness to learn new skills and their courage to try new things inspire the LEGO Group to expand not only their own but also children’s frontiers. Playfulness was also something the guests of the event experienced as they were given LEGO bricks during his speech and were supposed to create a duck in 45 seconds.
About the DAF Award and Peter Lassen
The DAF Award celebrates the pioneer spirit with which Danish-Americans have explored, and are still exploring the boundaries of themselves, their enterprise and their world today and actively shape the world of the future. The recipient was honored with a statuette depicting Peter Lassen, one of the most important of early Danish-American pioneers and frontiersmen.
2) OPENING CEREMONY FOR VILLUM CENTER FOR SCIENCE OF SUSTAINABLE FUELS AND CHEMICALS AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY
Monday afternoon, Minister for Higher Education and Science, Ulla Tørnæs, together with Danish Ambassador to the United States of America, Deputy Director of Confederation of Danish Industry, CEO of Danish Industry Foundation and CEO of Confederation of Danish Enterprise went to the opening ceremony of the new center for Science of Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals at Stanford.
The purpose of their presence to this opening ceremony was to witness the potential for more cooperation in the light of Denmark’s leading position within renewable energy and California’s leadership in relation to battery technology / energy storage. Moreover, Stanford University is one of the world’s leading research and educational institutions and a perfect setting for a talk about energy and technology.
The Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, Ulla Tørnæs, cut the red ribbon, and called the center for “open”. “It is crucial that we can cooperate in research across borders and between public and private. With Denmark’s strengths in renewable energy and California’s strengths in energy storage, I hope that the new collaboration between Stanford University and the Danish universities will lead to new sustainable solutions that will benefit us all”, Ulla Tørnæs said.
Afterwards, there were Danish cake and coffee at the balcony.
About the VILLUM center
The new center is a Danish-American research centre for developing sustainable fuels and chemicals. €20 million grant has been given by the Danish VILLUM FOUNDATION and therefore ensures exceptional research cooperation between SUNCAT Research Center at Stanford and the Technical University of Denmark, University of Copenhagen and the University of Southern Denmark can accelerate to new intensities. The grant builds on a foundation of cooperation initiated by a partner agreement between Stanford University and the Danish Agency for Science and Technology, facilitated by the Innovation Centre Denmark, Silicon Valley. The research at ‘VILLUM Center for Science of Sustainable Research’ aims at developing new technologies ensuring that future generations have electricity, fuel, and the necessary chemicals when fossil resources run out. The centre will primarily conduct research in catalysts and develop pioneering technologies to create sustainable solutions from research centres in Denmark and at Stanford.
3) LAUNCH OF WATER TECHNOLOGY ALLIANCE (WTA)
Another activity Monday afternoon took place in San Francisco; a launch of the new Water Technology Alliance. It was part of the conference “Water / More for Less – Sharing knowledge and best practice from the U.S. & Denmark” for American and Danish experts and policy makers in the water sector.
Ulla Tørnæs was present to inaugurate the alliance: “I am happy to see that Danish water technology companies have the expertise to help with the demand caused by the drought in California. The collaboration is a good example of how Danish research can take on international tasks beyond the borders of Denmark. Denmark and California can benefit from each other’s knowledge, and in the meantime also create jobs, Minister for Higher Education and Science”, Ulla Tørnæs said.
About Water Technology Alliance
A California-based alliance established by the Danish water distribution company Aarhus Vand, and supported by The Danish Industry Foundation and the Danish Trade Council in Chicago, is served as the foundation for a close partnership between Danish and American companies, public bodies, and education and science institutions in the water sector.
Denmark and Danish companies are leading in efficient, sustainable and energy neutral water solutions, however, they are still able to learn from their American colleagues in places such as the dynamic water technology-surrounded Silicon Valley. As such, a close collaboration between Danish and American water companies and organizations can be beneficial to all involved parties.
The alliance, called Water Technology Alliance (WTA) California, further consists of the companies Kamstrup, Applied Biomimetec, Danfoss, Grundfos, Ramboll, Smith Innovation, Skytem, DHI, and Leif Koch A/S, all of which are ready to take part in the partnership with their American colleagues.