Literature review and assessment of the Danish knowledge-based innovation support system


The literature review delivers a broad picture of findings across existing literature on the Danish knowledge-based innovation support system as a whole. It is conducted by IRIS Group for the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science and serves as background material for the international expert panel that is tasked with reviewing the Danish knowledge-based innovation support system in 2019.

Drawing on this review, the panel will make recommendations on how Denmark can strengthen its public policy efforts in areas including I) Knowledge-based technological service for businesses, II) Collaboration, networking and matchmaking, and III) Knowledge-based entrepreneurship.

Findings from the literature review includes:

  • Many companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, have connected with the system. Engagement with the system is, however, unevenly distributed across sectors and company sizes.
  • The Danish Research and Technology Organisations (the GTS system) and the Innovation Networks in particular have many users.
  • A number of impact analyses indicate that the use of the main programmes and instruments in the system is associated with higher levels of innovation, growth and increased productivity among the participating companies.
  • Levels of private R&D spending have increased in Denmark, but R&D expenditures tend to concentrate on fewer and larger companies.
  • The share of innovative companies has been broadly constant during the last few years and is at a modest level relative to other OECD countries.
  • The degree of sector mobility (researchers moving from private research labs to universities and vice versa) is low.
  • Most of the increase in collaborative research and innovation over the last few years concerns long-term projects making high demands on the research competence of participants.
  • The Innovation Networks play a crucial role in bridging company needs and the knowledge and expertise in higher education institutions.
  • All universities are engaged in the Innovation Networks, but awareness of the networks is limited among scientists other than those already participating.
  • A lack of knowledge about the programmes is the most common reason for not using the knowledge-based innovation support system.
  • The main challenge within knowledge-based entrepreneurship is to create a greater number of scale-ups and potential “unicorns”.

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