Your Royal Highness, excellencies, dear partners and guests. Dear alumni and colleagues. Amazing students. Dear everyone.
Spring is here - and so are we!
Welcome to DTU Commemoration Day 2022!
Monday 02 May 2022
Anders Overgaard Bjarklev
We’re back! Once again, we’re gathered for the event of the year here at DTU - after three years.
I've been looking forward to being here again. Together with you all.
Celebrating the community, the great efforts, the successes, and our partners.
Everything that everyone of you have contributed. Because it deserves a celebration.
You deserve a celebration. Thank you so much!
We could have been many more! Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough room for all those who wanted to participate. Not enough seats, I’m afraid.
But maybe we should get used to it: There is a shortage everywhere. Of seats at DTU Commemoration Day. In society in general.
We see the price increases at the supermarket, the long waiting list for the new electric car, and rising energy and gas prices. A new reality is emerging.
Maybe we need to get used to something that few of us have experienced: A society of scarcity due to a tragic war in Ukraine, a pandemic, and the highly urgent climate adaptations.
But if we are to do something about the scarcity in society, we cannot also have a society with a shortage of engineers.
Because engineers are key to solving these problems, come up with the innovative solutions, and make a difference!
The world is changing.
DTU impact your world
DTU’s most important task is to educate people, to do research, and develop technological solutions for the benefit of society.
We call this technology for people. That has been our mission since 1829. A lot has changed since then, but educating engineers still makes sense!
And as we have seen so many times in recent years, society needs many different things.
Corona diagnosis, yes please. Better cancer treatment, yes please. Technology for storing energy, yes please. Technology for carbon capture, yes please.
The world is facing a green transition. We must become a sustainable world. The latest report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that global CO2 emissions should peak by 2025 at the latest, and then it must fall rapidly and drastically if we’re to have any hope of limiting global warming.
That’s in three years.
And we have a new reality where we in record time must ensure a future without gas and other fossil fuels from Russia.
This is urgent. Really urgent, actually!
Our fellow Ukrainian citizens know better than anyone that the problems are real and that the battle must be fought every single day.
Over the last two years, we have experienced - and are experiencing - that when it really matters, when there is a pandemic, and when there is war in Ukraine, we as a society can stand together and accomplish what we had not thought possible.
But when it comes to the climate and the green transition, it’s as if we find it somewhat harder to understand the severity.
We're stuck. We are misled by details and we lose sight of the big picture.
As a society, we fail to understand that it is vital that we do our very best - day in and day out, year in and year out - to get to the finish line.
That we must act! And that requires engineers. Highly skilled engineers!
We understand this at DTU.
So when the Danish parliament told us to relocate across the country and close down study places in the cities, we proposed to continue to educate all the engineers we could on our main campuses while also educating them across the country. Because Denmark lacks engineers!
And that’s why we are puzzled now: Why does a parliamentary majority want us to educate 500fewer engineers on our main campuses by 2030 than we have done for the past two years? Because Denmark lacks engineers!
So, excuse me, are the politicians aware of the long-term goals?
Do they see the big picture? Is this the best we can do?
Because we face the greatest challenges our society has faced in decades. Because Denmark lacks engineers!
Dear politicians, please let DTU, let us do our part! We promise to do our very best - and hope you will do the same!
For example, I am proud of DTU’s input to the relocation plan: Engineers for all of Denmark:
Here we create, among other things, DTU - Digital Twin University, which will be a digital education for everyone who can and wants to study at DTU - regardless of where in Denmark they live.
We start with one diploma programme, one bachelor's programme, and one master's degree - so there will also be ample opportunity for collaborating with the business community. In the short term in Denmark, in the long term throughout the world.
I would also like to highlight the residential colleges which will be set up around the country along with the other universities, in collaboration with the local business community and institutions.
Here, students and researchers will be able to live and meet in collaboration with local businesses on assignments, internships, and projects.
We start off with Skive, Kalundborg, Fehmern, and Bornholm. On Bornholm, we already have a strong commitment, but will now increase our efforts to help unleash the enormous potential that Bornholm has as Denmark’s first energy island.
Together, we can create better solutions.
I’m an optimist. It works. It makes sense.
Why do I think that?
Because at every start of the semester, I look the students in the eye and see their commitment. Their enthusiasm, their belief that they will make a difference.
Researchers spend a large part of their lives creating solutions, innovating, making a difference!
Like when space technology can be used to cure breast cancer.
Like when the tireless further development of test and demonstration plants for the Power-to-X technologies takes hold, maturing these technologies and turning them into real alternatives that we can use - and that we can afford.
Because businesses, start-ups, and our partners show time and time again that together we can do more.
Knowledge creates the future.
When we need to mature technologies for the green transition, what is the answer? Research
When we need to develop quantum technology for our safety, what is the answer? Research
When we need to be healthier, get well faster, cope with a pandemic, what is the answer? Research
In this hall, we know that research and technology make a difference. But is that clear to everyone else? Can we make it more clear? Can we engage more in the public debate? Use our commitment, our passion to explain, exemplify, qualify so that everyone understands? Because it’s necessary.
We need the basic understanding, a belief in facts, science, and technology.
We need the necessary prioritization of research, i.e. higher prioritization - so we can ensure the high quality of our engineers.
At DTU, we conduct world-class research.
Research which is also the basis for how we educate our innovative engineers. The engineers who venture into society, into industry, into businesses. Here they translate research into growth and welfare, to increased competitiveness, to green transition.
We see it clearly these days: Research must ensure our freedom.
That’s why we need more engineers.
Today, we live in a changed Europe. A changed world.
And never have our Commemoration Day, the work in the auditoriums, in the laboratories, the late hours of the night, the many experiments, the applications, the articles, the collaborations - well, it has never made more sense than now.
Never have you students, you researchers, and educators, you - my colleagues, our partners, made more sense than now.
Never have engineers made more sense than now.
Technology for humans makes sense.
The world is changing. The world is changing. But we’re also changing the world.