Knock, knock…

– Who is there?

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…..Innovation Centre Denmark is! Or to be completely precise, we are here if you knock on the heavy green marble door at 200 Page Mill Road in Palo Alto. But actually you should not knock. Then you will not be heard. Use the shiny doorbell instead, and your arrival will be announced throughout the entire office (Quite the entrance, huh?)… Now you have made it through the door, so what can we do for you?

(HINT: If you are not quite sure what we can actually help you with, then please, keep reading. You’ll know in a couple of minutes)

Who are we?


The person to let you in through the green door will probably be our Office Manager Marie Noerskov. She has been our Office Manager since the 1st of July 2014, and she came from a position in Denmark as PA to the Minister of Health. This is the first time she is featuring on the blog – welcome Marie! We are so happy to have you here.

Beside Marie the Innovation Centre also houses our Managing Director Søren Juul-Jørgensen, Innovation Attaché Mikkel Skovborg, CleanTech experts Christian Vinther, Ali Mushtaq and Ed Beardsworth, Deputy Director and Life Science expert Henrik Bo Larsen, ICT expert Carsten Jarfelt, Bent Hessen-Schmidt and Kristoffer Roerbaek from Invest in Denmark, and finally our three interns Kristina Hansen, Søren Engelbrekt and Line Rodil.

The Silicon Valley Bridge

At Innovation Centre Denmark our main purpose is to bridge Denmark and Silicon Valley. This being both in regards of helping Danish startups immerse into the American market but also in terms of attracting investments to Denmark like the recent successful example of Apple’s ambitious data center plans in Viborg.

Scale and accelerate in the valley

If you are a startup in Denmark dreaming about scaling your business to the US, we can help you. We have a whole initiative called SCALEit consisting of three programs in total. Twice a year we help startups with scaling potential to get a foothold in the vibrant Silicon Valley ecosystem through the SCALEit Ignite program. Throughout this weeklong program you as an entrepreneur receive training in the art of pitching, attend marketing, networking, sales and legal sessions, pitch to potential investors, and tap into the network of the Innovation Centre. Christian Erfurt, CEO of Be My Eyes, shares his SCALEit experience:

“SCALEit was a wonderful introduction on how a life/business setup could be like. It is an intense program where you get to the core of your business and your reasons for doing as you do. It was a great way to see words put into action.”

If you are interested in learning more about the SCALEit program, contact Christian Vinther or sign up for an interview here.

Innovation and corporate inspiration

Silicon Valley is not only for startups. Also established corporations can benefit from being present in the Valley. When doing business in the valley one should have a local address and phone number here. That’s how investors and potential new business partners know that you are serious about doing business. If that seems a bit much in regards of your needs, we have just the solution: Join us at the Innovation Centre, where we have office space that you can rent, and virtual office services that will make you appear as a local with a base in the Valley. When being present here at the Innovation Centre, you also have the opportunity of getting consultancy from our sector experts, and learn how your business will be disrupted or changed in the near future, what competitors should you be looking out for, and why. Contact Marie Noerskov to learn more about these services.

We do consultancy and inspirational workshops aimed at both the private and public sector. Recently we had the Department of Health and Care from the Municipality of Aarhus visiting to learn about healthcare in the Bay Area. Denmark is very advanced in our approach to healthcare and assisted living but this does not make the municipality of Aarhus rest on their laurels. Recognizing that technologies and ideologies from other sectors and providers are to be learnt from, is just one of the ways of innovating for the future.

Are your corporation ready to innovate? Do you know your products and competitors of tomorrow? Whether you do or not, please feel free to reach out to Henrik Bo Larsen, and learn more about how Innovation Centre Denmark can help your corporation with new insights and inspiration straight out of the Valley.

Are you more in search of research collaborations? Mikkel Skovborg and Kristina Hansen make up the Research and Technology team focusing on strengthening the ties between Danish and US research. This includes establishing networks and contact between Danish and Californian research communities, promoting Danish research, innovation and higher education through, among other things, Danish-Californian workshops, conferences, and exchanges, and finally to collect and disseminate best practice in California within science, innovation, and higher education. If you wish to learn more about the possibilities of research collaborations, please don’t hesitate to contact Mikkel.

What can we do for you?

We hope this gave you some insights into our offerings at Innovation Centre Denmark. Remember – just go to the heavy green marble door at 200 Page Mill Road and ring the bell, or contact any one of us by mail or phone. We look forward to asking:

“What can we do for you? – Innovation Centre Denmark is here to help you”

What the smartest people in the world talk about


The scientific highlight of the year, the annual AAAS conference brought together the smartest and most prominent researchers from the US as well as representatives from all 7 continents.

From Africa to Antarctic, Brazil to Boston, UK to Ukraine, scientists from all over the world were gathered last weekend in San Jose, California, for one of the biggest scientific conferences in the world.

Hosted annually by the American Association for the Advancement of Science [simply AAAS or triple-A S], the 2015 version was held in the Southern part of Silicon Valley, surrounded by hi-tech giants and innovative start-ups. Though the area would suggest a meeting focused more on the applications of science, the AAAS is also the brand behind the Science magazine, pointing more towards a meeting concerning the newest investigations of natural science and basic research.

It was thus an open question, what would turn out to be the hot topic of the meeting, but as everywhere else, Big Data ended up winning that price.

Big data on everybody’s lips

The overall theme of conference was Innovations, information, and imaging. The first components leaned more towards the things surrounding science, as the trend seems to be at such meetings, than towards science itself; policy, education, security, communication, careers.

The way natural science was brought into the meeting – perhaps rather inelegant – was through the imaging-part. Covering everything from climate change visualization, the 25th birthday of the Hubble telescope, to 3D-reconstructions used in archaeology, the focal repeated point of the seminars seemed clearer and clearer, as the weekend progressed.

Every result be it in physics, anthropology, medicine, or linguistics, was backed and based on huge data sets processed on computers, using either general statistics or special programs or visualization tools to find patterns in the Big Data.

American Association for the Advancement of Science Conference 2015

The future is duo-disciplinary

As with the scientific seminars, the ones concerning policies and education also could not stop emphasizing the importance of scientists, students, institutions being able to harvest the insights available from data.

In recent years, the one-most used adjective to describe the future within the education system and the professional sector is multidisciplinary. The question is though, if it should not instead be duo-disciplinary? An understanding of numbers, computers, and visualization could benefit most research fields, and would enable the sociologist, the biologist, the historian, and the doctor to create those wanted Big Data analyses within his group.

Dedicated Big Data groups that are being created in both Danish and US institutions will definitely be worth a lot for companies and universities. However, if data science did not only cross over to other academic disciplines on a consultancy basis, but was instead used on building general data literacy, way more new insights would be discovered. Entire new sub-fields might even emerge, when researchers start digging into their traditional fields from outside the box.

P.S. And if you wondered about the 7 continents: yes – Antarctic was represented with the measures on the Cosmic Microwave Background performed at a South Pole research facility.

Grundfos Cuts the Ribbon to Innovative Water Technology Center

Niels Due Jensen, Chairman of Grundfos Pumps Cuts the Ribbon

Niels Due Jensen, Chairman of Grundfos Pumps Cuts the Ribbon

On September 20, Grundfos Chairman, Niels Due Jensen, unveiled Grundfos’ Water Technology Center in Fresno, California. The center will set the standard in water technology throughout the world as well as benefit the entire region, said Ashley Swearengin, Mayor of Fresno.

The Water Technology Center will primarily focus on innovative product research in irrigation and other uses for water. However, Grundfos is also opening up towards the industry and invites researchers and entrepreneurs to test and prototype their ideas. Further incubation and funding possibilities will also play a key part, and researchers will be able to take advantage of Grundfos’ strategic partnerships with the International Center for Water Technology at Fresno State University, the Central Valley Business Incubator, and PureSense, Climate Minder, Aquacue, and others.

Obama Requests Increased R&D Investments in 2012 Budget

In these days the Obama Administration and the House Republicans are fighting over the 2012 budget. Meanwhile here in Silicon Valley we are holding our breaths and crossing our fingers hoping for the best. As one of the most knowledge intensive regions in the US, increases and cuts in the national R&D budget have great impact on the Silicon Valley ecosystem.

President Barack Obama looks back at Education Secretary Arne Duncan during remarks to students and teachers at Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Va., March 14, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama: +772 million USD to R&D in 2012

In Obama’s 2012 Full Year Budget Request presented on February 14th the President suggests an R&D investment of $147.9 billion, which is an increase of $772 million from the 2010 budget. The budget favors priority areas such as R&D, education, infrastructure, innovation and specifically clean energy, and aims to

•    Maintain a doubling path for the three science agencies the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science
•    Educate children in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) i.a. by preparing 100,000 new STEM teachers over the next decade
•    Invest in 21st century infrastructure, e.g. by installing high-speed wireless internet to reach at least 98% of Americans
•    Encourage private sector investments by calling for an expanded and permanent extension of the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit
•    Advance a clean-energy future by advancing research and development of clean energy sources through increased funding and support of industry-academia collaboration

R&D investments to win the future
The request thus reaffirms the President’s focus on the importance of research and development as a means to strengthening the US economy and competitiveness. Furthermore the budget request favors investments in innovation and entrepreneurship through several loan funds and programs. We think the president is right in stressing that these investments are crucial to maintain the US as a world leader in the knowledge economy, where countries like China, India and Brazil are rapidly increasing R&D budgets.

House Republicans proposing to slash R&D spending
This request however is in great contrast to the so called continuing resolution recently proposed by the House Republicans in which they call for dramatic cuts in the science and technology budget. Therefore the scene is set for extended debates and struggles on the future R&D budget. Although it is not likely that Obama’s budget request will pass without modifications, it is fair to expect that the final budget compromise will include increased investments in innovation and R&D. Here in the Valley we keep our fingers crossed looking forward to a positive budget outcome. We will follow the negotiations close and keep you posted!

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