DTU’s expertise in many academic and scientific fields is crucial to Eriksholm Research Centre’s technology development, says Senior Director Uwe Hermann. Photo: Bax Lindhardt

“We get new and better ideas”

Eriksholm Research Centre depends on the universities’ research, where talented researchers and their research activities are not hitched to a product development carriage.

Eriksholm Research Centre is the William Demant Group’s research unit, the object of which is to conduct research and experiment with the technology which will—perhaps—one day be incorporated in one of the Group's products: hearing aids, headphones or medical instruments.

“Our focus is on long-term technological development, and our time frame is five to ten years rather than the two to three years typically used in a product development team,” explains Uwe Hermann, Senior Director of Eriksholm Research Centre.

He states that, globally, there are numerous examples of groups which are closing down their long-term research units in these years. In this drought-stricken landscape, publicly funded research institutions become life-giving watering holes from which industry can drink in the form of collaboration with researchers with indepth academic competency.

“Eriksholm’s technology development covers a wide range of scientific fields such as brain research, artificial intelligence, neurology, microbiology, electrical engineering, and biomedical engineering. It’s crucial for us to find the best and brightest within these fields and collaborate with them, as we do not ourselves have inhouse research experience in all the areas,” explains Uwe Hermann, and refers—among other joint projects—to the Group’s collaboration with DTU Electrical Engineering in the research centre ‘Oticon Centre of Excellence for Hearing and Speech Sciences’  as an example of how the Group stands on the shoulders of a university’s indepth academic competency.

The universities are also Eriksholm’s preferred ‘watering hole’ when the company needs a fresh injection of ideas and research talents. This is, for example, reflected in approximately half of the 40 employees who clock in daily at Snekkersten being employed on a temporary basis as PhDs or Postdocs.

“The universities can contribute with highly talented researchers who have the latest knowledge and lots of new ideas, including ideas that we have not thought of ourselves at all. It also expands our network, and a strong network is essential in the world of research. The time when you could sit in complete solitude and conduct research that would lead to new technology is long gone.”