Novozymes and DTU increase focus on fermentation technology

Monday 26 Sep 16


Kim Dam-Johansen
Professor, Head of Department
DTU Chemical Engineering
+4545 25 28 45
Novozymes and DTU have a long tradition of collaboration, and this is now being extended in relation to industrial fermentation technology until the year 2020. The initiative aims to produce more talented graduates and higher level research, thereby improving Denmark's strong position in the field.

The perspectives for fermentation technology are of interest to Denmark. In many of the largest Danish biotech, food and agriculture companies, fermentation technology is a fundamental discipline in the manufacturing process for products such as enzymes, beer, dairy products and medicine. The technology is therefore a cornerstone for maintaining Denmark's internationally recognized strong position in the field.

"Novozymes is ready to go to great lengths to keep Denmark among the global leaders within fermentation technology. If we don't continue providing education at the highest level in this field, we could ultimately lose our present leading position," says Mikael Bundgaard-Nielsen, Vice President of Novozymes.

"If we don't continue providing education at the highest level in this field, we could ultimately lose our present leading position."
Mikael Bundgaard-Nielsen, Vice President of Novozymes.

Professor Krist V. Gernaey from DTU Chemical Engineering says:

"I'm very much looking forward to continuing the collaboration with Novozymes. It gives us some unique opportunities, such as access to their data and to testing our research results in pilot and full-scale systems. We have taken measurements in the large tanks which I believe no other research groups have done before. One of our PhD students developed a sensor prototype for this work which monitors the flow and collects data in the large tanks. An invention that led to the Freesense start-up, and which will hopefully mean we can now get completely new data to work with in the future. Our collaboration with Novozymes thus allows us to do research at a high level."

Kim Dam-Johansen, Head of Department and Professor at DTU Chemical Engineering, says that industrial fermentation technology is a key area for DTU Chemical Engineering. The department works with product design, process design and production spanning the fields of chemistry, biotechnology, medicine, food and energy, in close interaction with the business community.

"Our collaboration with Novozymes on biotech production processes has been mutually rewarding in every way. Our students are thrilled about the many exciting real-life issues in the field—and the interaction between Novozymes' and our researchers and engineers is very close. I see it as true innovation with the highest potential," adds Kim Dam-Johansen.

Long-term and rewarding investment
Collaboration between Novozymes and DTU Chemical Engineering dates back to shortly after the enterprise was founded as an independent company in 2001. Collaboration was formalized at the time in the form of Novozymes' Bioprocess Academy, and a professor was employed following a donation from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The collaboration has resulted in the training of a large number of graduates and researchers, and in significant scientific results. The collaboration was consolidated in 2012 when a professorship in industrial fermentation technology was established. The position was filled by Professor Krist V. Gernaey, and the area has developed rapidly since. Against this background, the collaboration is now being extended until 2020.

Novozymes and DTU Chemical Engineering sign the contract    "We are very satisfied with our collaboration with DTU, which has produced research at a high international level and trained many talented graduates. Fermentation technology is an area in which Denmark excels and has a strong position. But we can do even better, and this is where our collaboration with DTU Chemical Engineering is important, as it helps us attract talented employees and researchers in the field of fermentation technology," says Mikael Bundgaard-Nielsen, Vice President of Novozymes.