Fun Fact: The First Danish Astronaut in Space

When Danish Astronaut, Andreas Mogensen, takes flight on September 2 as second in charge on the European Space Agency vessel, Soyuz TMA-18M, he will be the first Dane in Space.

According to plan, Andreas’ mission on the International Space Station (ISS) will last for ten days, during which he will be busy applying new technology and conducting experiments connected to several European research projects in different fields ranging from electronics to biology. Andreas will also be the subject of research himself, as some of the research projects are looking into the effects of spending time in space by running tests with the aid of health sensors (for more on the interesting subject of health related technology, take a look at Henrik’s piece on wearable devices).

While Andreas is at ISS, two small Danish satellites (CubeSats) will be launched from the station. One of them was created at Aalborg University and will be tracking ships. The other, which was made by the Danish company GomSpace, can pick up flight signals and in that way enhance air traffic safety.

All of Denmark is following the mission closely, and students across the country are working on projects in relation to this great space adventure. Space exploration is an important driver of new technology, knowledge and innovative solutions, and it is a valuable opportunity for Denmark to be a part of it.

Have a safe flight, Andreas!

More information about Andreas Mogensen and the iriss mission can be found here.

Danish-American Partnership Promotes Melanoma Pain Research

With the help from Innovation Center Denmark, Silicon Valley a new colaboration between Danish and Californian Universities and Hospitals has been established. The area concerns melanoma research and the pain resulting from the treatment of melanoma.

“We welcome the collaboration and look forward to receive gifted students and researchers from Denmark,” says Karin Lottrup Petersen, a scientist at CPMCRI and an Associate Professor at UCSF. “The students will benefit from being able to work with some of the best researchers in the world, and the researchers will benefit from being exposed to the passion and fresh ideas that the students bring to their work.”

Besides the UCSF participants include the Rigshospitalet – Copenhagen University Hospital – the University of Aarhus, Aalborg University and California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute (CPMCRI) – part of the Sutter Health network.

For more info click here

From Nokia to Entrepreneur with ICDK!

Four start-ups founded by former employees at Nokia arrived in Silicon Valley to explore the limitless possibilities of the valley – and Innovation Center Denmark led the way.

While Nokia is for the most part leaving Denmark, they are leaving behind great buildings, excellent high-tech equipment and smart employees. They could have been like so many others and got rid of the buildings and left the employees on their own – but they didn’t.

Instead Nokia’s old Development Centre in Copenhagen will transform into Aalborg University Copenhagen’s new Innovation Center and their former employees will have the opportunity to get funding for new start-up ideas.

Four of these start-ups went to Silicon Valley, where Innovation Center Denmark setup for them a very interesting program introducing them to the necessities required to make it in Silicon Valley.

The start-ups where introduced to legal matters by some of the Valley’s most experienced lawyers. They learned how to set up a business in Silicon Valley, what was the correct “way of doing things”, how and how much to pay in taxes, how efficient confidentiality contracts are, how long it takes to start a company, and what the legislation in relation to employees is, etc.

The Innovation Center brought in a number of communication consultants to teach the start-ups the American “way” of pitching and the importance of getting it right, the first time. They learned how to present an idea to a venture capital firm: what they want to know, what they don’t want to know, in what order they want to know it and most importantly, how to ask for money.

They were also introduced to networking facilities and got a glimpse of just how important networking really is in Silicon Valley. They also met other successful start-ups from Denmark who shared their experiences with starting up businesses in Silicon Valley, and much more.

All in just one intense week.

In short they learned that going to Silicon Valley is not as easy as one might think – however, with the right guidance you can overcome the obstacles in no time!

From Denmark to California on Renewable Energy


Students from Danish and Californian universities have been keeping themselves busy over the summer. They all just spent three weeks in California attending lectures, visiting companies, working on renewable energy projects and discussing future solutions for the road towards clean energy. I went with them for the opening ‘the Road to 100% Clean Energy Workshop’ and on a few of the visits and tried to figure out what they got out of the summer program and what they might take back home with them.

This year’s Denmark-California Summer Workshop, the fourth of its kind,  brought together students from 5 different universities (the Technical University of Denmark, Aalborg University, and University of California in Santa Cruz, Merced, and Davis) and countries such as India, Malaysia, the US, and Denmark. They all came from different backgrounds and with different ideas for how to tackle the challenges of renewable energy systems. The final presentations held at UC Davis reflected this diversity as one group discussed how to build a decentralized residential energy system in a village in rural Tanzania; another how to sustainably preserve the Wharf in Santa Cruz; and the last one focusing on the construction of a new campus building at UC Davis.

Despite this diversity, most of the students came from a technical background. And though all of the final projects – and most of the presentations throughout the program – was about sustainability, the key point was about economic sustainability. There seem to be no doubt that renewable energy is the future, but if you can’t come up with a business model that makes renewable energy economically attractive, there’s no point.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the three final projects presented some very interesting solutions. But for next year’s DK-CA Summer Workshop in Denmark, it might be interesting to include students from across the pond, in business, natural sciences, and so on.

The workshop has been no walkover and the three weeks have been more than packed events. The students had barely time to work on their projects, let alone enjoy the beautiful surroundings of especially UC Santa Cruz. Instead they went through a tightly packed schedule of lectures, presentations and group work at UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis, as well as a long list of company visits including Tesla MotorsMakani Power, Rio Vista Wind Farm, SolyndraNASA Ames, and many more – all of which obviously impressed and inspired both students, professors, and a certain Innovation Center Denmark intern.

The Denmark-California Summer Workshop has been about getting a little taste of everything that has to do with renewable energy. Students and professors discussed theoretical and practical solutions to international and local scale, and got to meet some of the leading renewable energy players firsthand.

Next year, the summer school will be in Denmark. We will make sure to give you updates on the progress and registration when we get a little closer.


Danish Startup Talents looking to learn from you!

This Fall some of the best and brightest Danish students in innovation and entrepreneurship are coming to the Bay Area looking to learn from the inspiring startup and innovative environment here. And we mean the brightest! Among Danish students enrolled in a business grad program -with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship- we choose the 8 most talented souls and send them to Silicon Valley. All students are selected on their startup ideas, business models and entrepreneurial spirit. And they are coming to learn from you!

We are looking to find these young souls an exciting internship in Silicon Valley/San Francisco with a tech startup. Therefore, let us know if you could use some extra hands and are willing to mentor an aspiring entrepreneur. The students will work unpaid for three weeks with start in November. The organizing parts behind the initiative will take care of the practical things like travel, help with housing, insurance and will arrange a week of introductions to the Bay Area ecosystem, so the students can hit the ground running when they start the internship.

Behind the program is the Danish student organization Young Enterprises, that aims to grow more entrepreneurship in Denmark. As a proud partner, Innovation Center Denmark will be the local point of contact for the intern hosts. Young Enterprises created this initiative because they believe more Danish students could benefit from the startup scene that is Silicon Valley – and at the Innovation Center we think they are right. In order to create more entrepreneurship, innovation and successful startups in Denmark, we need to learn from the best. With a booming startup scene, tech giants lined up and some of the world’s best universities (also when it comes to entrepreneurship), we believe Silicon Valley is the place to send our students and aspiring entrepreneurs.

If you are interested in learning more on the program, the Danish organizer will be in the Bay Area, 26th-29th of July, and would be happy to discuss this opportunity with you.
Please contact project manager Marie Louise Gørvild at

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