According to Ole Kirk, Vice President, Household Care Application Research, Novozymes is dependent on the universities’ basic research, as this is a field which private companies rarely master. Photo: Bax Lindhardt

“We acquire new knowledge and new technological solutions”

For Novozymes, close contact with the universities is important to ensure the acquisition of new knowledge and technology—and to recruit talented employees.

Novozymes’ collaboration with universities provides the company with new knowledge and new technological solutions which are used in the production of enzymes.

In the Household Care & Technical Industries Divisions headed by Ole Kirk, Vice President, Household Care Application Research, the focus is on developing and producing enzymes for use in detergents.

“It requires a wide range of technologies, which we partly develop internally, partly obtain from the outside. Several methods have been invented at DTU. For example, we use a number of genetic engineering solutions, for which some elements have been developed at DTU. From DTU, we have also acquired methods for production of microorganisms and creation of efficient fermentation processes, and we’ve been working closely with DTU for many years,” explains Ole Kirk.

Novozymes stands on the shoulders of the universities’ long-term technological development, but cannot as a company handle this development itself.

“It’s incredibly important for our competitiveness that we are a leader in our field, but we cannot ourselves develop the entire palette of technologies which forms part of our technology platform. We’re dependent on new ideas from the universities. In turn, it’s vital to our business that we are world champions in integrating the technology, so that we can use it for precisely our purpose.”

The company also needs to collaborate with universities on basic research.

“As a company, we cannot run a business based on creating basic scientific understanding, but we collaborate on projects in which basic understanding about, for example, proteins is acquired. Here, we benefit greatly from our partnership with DTU,” says Ole Kirk and refers to the company's collaboration with DTU Chemistry on precisely proteins.

The Vice President, Household Care Application Research, emphasizes that it is very important for Novozymes to have close contact with the universities, partly to ensure a flexible knowledge and technology transfer, partly to recruit talented employees.

“The most important thing for us—and which also contributes to ensuring growth in Novozymes—is that we have the right people. We need graduates who can perform research at a high level. We could not be located in the Greater Copenhagen area if we were not able to recruit talented people here.”