New academy is to strengthen data science in Denmark

Wednesday 05 May 21

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Lars Kai Hansen
Professor, head of section
DTU Compute
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Danish Data Science Academy

The Danish Data Science Academy will be based at the Technical University of Denmark and will be established during 2021.

The Chair of the Academy will be Lars Kai Hansen, Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Technical University of Denmark. The Academy will have an international board of directors, a CEO, a secretariat and two committees that will assess and set priorities for the applications received for the activities and scholarships the Academy will support.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is awarding DKK 152.5 million for establishing and operating the Academy over the next 5.5 years. VILLUM FONDEN has awarded the Academy DKK 31.8 million over the same period.

New national academy aims to lift Denmark into the global super league in data science areas such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and the internet of things.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation and the VILLUM FOUNDATION awards a total combined grant of DKK 184.3 million to the Danish Data Science Academy, which will support and initiate new initiatives for Danish research institutions and tech companies. Primarily within training of experts and interdisciplinary collaboration, two crucial areas for Denmark to realize its potential within data science.

Even though Denmark benefits from a high degree of digitization, good data sources and strong tech companies, we train too few computer science experts to cover the future needs.

At the same time knowledge sharing and cooperation in the Danish environment must be strengthened if Denmark is to compete with the leading regions in the world.

Therefore, the Danish Data Science Academy aims to unite and strengthen the many national participants and stakeholders within the academic environment, health tech and business community.

“All segments of Danish society have a huge demand for data science experts. The Academy will provide unique opportunities to support the education and training of the new generations of data scientists and will create a unique data science community in Denmark that can compete internationally and attract talent. We are very grateful that the Novo Nordisk Foundation and VILLUM FONDEN have assumed joint responsibility for strengthening talent development in data science in Denmark and on such a large scale,” comments Lars Kai Hansen, Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Technical University of Denmark and Chair of the Academy.

"All segments of Danish society have a huge demand for data science experts. The Academy will provide unique opportunities to support the education and create a unique data science community in Denmark that can compete internationally"
Lars Kai Hansen, Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, DTU and Chair of the Academy

Focusing on research, teaching and networking
The Danish Data Science Academy is the result of a long process that has involved researchers from across the country and is therefore strongly rooted in Denmark’s data science community. The Academy will focus on strengthening data science as an independent discipline and on stimulating fruitful collaborations harnessing new digital technologies to benefit society in a broad sense.

“The international focus on data science will definitely increase in the future. A hub therefore needs to be created as soon as possible to develop Denmark’s expertise in data science. The Danish Data Science Academy will greatly contribute to creating the right framework for Denmark to take a strong international position in data science based on our excellent framework,” says Niels-Henrik von Holstein-Rathlou, Senior Vice President, Biomedicine & Health Sciences, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Both the Novo Nordisk Foundation and VILLUM FONDEN have a strategic focus on data science, and the two foundations support different areas of application of the technologies. The combined funding creates a broad initiative that can embrace the entire field and promote collaboration with other foundations and donors.

“Data science is an important field to which VILLUM FONDEN has long contributed. The Danish Data Science Academy will gather the many excellent competencies in Denmark and create opportunities for increased interdisciplinary collaboration across a very wide range of applications and for attracting talented international scientists to Denmark. We hope that the Academy will be a natural hub for several major initiatives in Denmark such as the Digital Research Centre Denmark, the upcoming pioneer center for artificial intelligence research and the new initiative Algorithms, Data and Democracy, which we launched in collaboration with VELUX FONDEN,” says Thomas Bjørnholm, Director of Science, VILLUM FONDEN.

The Danish Data Science Academy will primarily support and implement three types of activities.

  • Scholarships for PhD and postdoctoral projects, including collaborative projects with hospitals and industry. The scholarships will be awarded following application rounds in open competition. Danish and international students will also have the opportunity to apply for travel scholarships.
  • Financial support for courses and activities for developing new or improved teaching and training courses within data science. The Academy will also create a forum for national coordination and the exchange of experience between universities and the users of their services.
  • Financial support for meetings, conferences and symposia, including events hosted and organized by the Academy with the aim of fostering internationalization, collaboration, networking and knowledge sharing across disciplines, institutions and sectors.

Funding and Fonds

About the Novo Nordisk Foundation
The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an independent Danish foundation with corporate interests. It has two objectives: 1) to provide a stable basis for the commercial and research activities of the companies in the Novo Group; and 2) to support scientific, humanitarian and social causes.

The vision of the Foundation is to contribute significantly to research and development that improves the lives of people and the sustainability of society. Since 2010, the Foundation has donated more than DKK 30 billion (€4 billion), primarily for research at public institutions and hospitals in Denmark and the other Nordic countries as well as research-based treatment and prevention of diabetes. Read more at www.novonordiskfonden.dk/en.

 

About VILLUM FONDEN
VILLUM FONDEN (part of the VELUX FOUNDATIONS) is a philanthropic foundation that supports technical and scientific research as well as environmental, social and cultural projects in Denmark and internationally. In 2020, VILLUM FONDEN awarded grants totalling DKK 720 million.

VILLUM FONDEN was founded in 1971 by civil engineer Villum Kann Rasmussen – the founder of VELUX and other companies in the VKR Group, whose mission is to bring daylight, fresh air and a better environment into people’s everyday lives. VILLUM FONDEN is the majority shareholder in the VKR Group. Read more at https://veluxfoundations.dk/en.

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