Building bridges between Research and Industry

Innovation agents are the main actors in a new research- and innovation policy initiative in Denmark. They collaborate with Danish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to identify the firms’ potential for innovation and then contact research institutions and experts who can contribute to realising this potential.
The Innovation agents initiative aims to establish new contact points between research communities and Danish industry. The agents are available for SMEs that seek renewal and innovative solutions, but which lack a tradition for collaborating with research institutions. Innovation agents can refer the firms to all kinds of research institutes, universities, technology- and competence centres and educational institutions.

“Their task demands comprehensive knowledge about the Danish and Nordic research communities”, says Morten Solgaard Thomsen at The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation. The Innovation agents are recruited through the GTS (Advanced Technology Group), a network of independent Danish research and technology organisations. The agents are experienced in technology and business development, have thorough insights in different research communities that may provide the firms with necessary knowledge, and they are familiar with public funding solutions for industry-based R&D.

The Innovation agents do field work in Danish SMEs to reveal the firms’ needs for knowledge and innovation. They give advice, suggest solutions and take part in the discussions and decision-making processes of a new innovation project’s initial phase.

The Innovation agents is a three-year pilot project financed by The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation under the Ministry of Education. The project forms part of the action plan “Innovation Denmark 2007-2010” developed by The Danish Council for Technology and Innovation.
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