Digital Tech Startups

The future is digital, and a key goal for Denmark is to ensure that some of the next gen digital tech startups are created in Denmark.

In particular, our aim is to help create new digital startups in Denmark based on research that will give the startup a unique competitive advantage. 


What we want to achieve

1) Educate 100+ digital researchers in how to start a business

How do you start a business based on state-of-the-art research? How can you go from being a researcher to being an entrepreneur? What particular challenges are deep tech spin-out startups facing? 

In DIREC, we want to train and prepare digital researchers in creating startup companies based on their research. We organize courses and collect best-practice to achieve the goal. 

2) Create 5+ startups based on DIREC projects

It can be difficult to consider when a research idea is ready to be transformed into a startup, but we want to give the researchers working in DIREC the best possible support and opportunities for creating startups based on their research.

3) Support the community around digital tech startups

In DIREC, we want to support the community around digital tech startups by providing meeting places for upcoming entrepreneurs. One example is the conference Digital Tech Summit which invites entrepreneurs from all Danish universities to attend and share their experiences.

projects / events

Digital Tech Summit

Digital Tech Summit (DTS) brings together 5,000 decision makers, companies, academia, startups, investors, and students for a two-day event to redefine tech leadership and the digital sustainable tech transformation in industry and society. 

The stages cover topics with the following themes: Digital Defense, Digital health, AI & Ethics, Tech boosters, Smart Grid & energy optimization and Smart Manufacturing. As well as tech startup-corporate engagement on the start-up scene.

DIREC participates as sponsor and as a university focal point of the tech event. 

The vision of DTS is: 

  • to create the leading research-based tech meeting space in the Nordic countries to interact and debate digital trends, the most recent discoveries, participate in matchmaking events, and generate new ideas. 
  • to contribute to spread possibilities, inspiration and knowledge about digital trends and technologies to the Danish business community to create knowledge-based jobs, growth and export.
  • to make the Danish positions of strength visible and attract talents, investments, and partners internationally.  

The expected results of DTS: 

  1. Networking and collaboration: DTS will bring together people and companies redefining the global tech industry. DIREC and researchers affiliated with DIREC will be able to come together with experts from every industry and share ideas with others in their field and meet potential future collaborators.
  2. Brand awareness and exposure: DTS will offer a communication platform that gives DIREC a unique opportunity for a massive outreach to a broad audience, e.g. decision makers, researchers, companies, startups and students. The DTS platform is based on communication channels from Teknologiens Mediehus, the universities’ network and IT Industrien’s network.
  3. Learning, insight, and professional development: Researchers affiliated with DIREC will deliver educational content, informative conference session, masterclasses, and innovative roundtables that inspires and empowers attendees. 
Young Researcher Entrepreneurship bootcamp

Young Researcher Entrepreneurship Bootcamp (YREB) is a national 3-4 day entrepreneurship training for doctoral students and early career researchers within the field of AI, data science, and computer science across all Danish universities.

The goal of the bootcamp is to help develop entrepreneurial knowledge, skills, and mindsets that can benefit both the current research and the future careers of the participating young researchers.

The program will specifically target the issues, challenges and potentials of entrepreneurship, and the establishment of startups in computer science and digitalization. This applies to the use of AI models in practical production, commercialization of software and collaboration in relation to IP with the university. The program aims to inspire and introduce the participants to key elements in relation to entrepreneurship and commercialization of research and furthermore aims to introduce the students to methodologies related to the discovery and development of a business opportunity. The program will focus on supporting the early stages of startup building (before “cvr”) and it will introduce the participants and create easy access to the universities’ own support and ecosystem for entrepreneurship.

Summer school on industrial software engineering

Software Engineering is a core discipline when it comes to developing and maintaining technologies and infrastructures that help our society to prosper and to address climate change. Software Engineering and the quality of the development processes make sure that health, identity, and payment infrastructures work correctly, supports the operations of wind parks, and help to embed artificial intelligence and machine learning in a transparent and responsible ways in administrative procedures.

Software and its engineering is, however, often taken for granted. To address this the project will organize an summer school on software engineering to promote advanced software engineering knowledge among the students at the Danish computer science and software engineering educations. To enable students to transfer the knowledge into application the teaching activities will include an industrial track with an entrepreneurial mindset. This will built on the ”Race to the moon” concept developed within Danfoss and also used for entrepreneurship activities at SDU with great success.

The project goal is to develop and arrange a “DIREC Summer School on Industrial Software Engineering” in 2024 and 2025. The summer school will cover advanced topics in software engineering with a focus on topics particularly relevant to industrial application. The summer school will include a case track to support industrial entrepreneurship.

The project will contribute to:

  • Advance STEM IT students’ software engineering skills in Denmark
  • Foster a stronger software engineering teaching and research community in Denmark by gathering stakeholders at a common event.
  • Build a stronger link between academic and industrial stakeholders in Denmark within software engineering by co-organizing an industrial entrepreneurship track.
Digital Entrepreneurship Guide

The project will collect state-of-the-art knowledge and research results to promote digital entrepreneurship in general and at Danish universities. This will be done through document studies and a review of relevant research literature.

In order to gain insight into the barriers and opportunities for entrepreneurship for the individual researcher, a SWOT analysis is carried out to reveal the experience of this among scientific staff at the universities under the auspices of DIREC through a workshop. The result must complement insights gathered via document studies and literature reviews, etc. to point out opportunities to strengthen entrepreneurship in the individual researcher and at the university in general.

The results from the project are disseminated through a policy paper and a concise, research-oriented Digital Entrepreneurship Guide, and through presentations at e.g. seminars and conferences.

Value Creation

The project will contribute to:

  • Increase the scope of entrepreneurship. Prepare an entrepreneurship guide that can support the researchers’ incentive and opportunities to succeed as entrepreneurs in the digital field.
  • Gains for research. The project will focus on how entrepreneurship can strengthen research practice.
  • Gains for universities. Create input for universities with a focus on innovation efforts and strategies at institute level.
  • Increased insight into factors that can hinder or support digital entrepreneurship. This may include knowledge of how incentives for researchers can be strengthened, how institutes’ and universities’ innovation efforts can promote entrepreneurship, the importance of teaching researchers in entrepreneurship, and the importance of IP for the commercialization of research in the digital field.

Workstream manager

Mark Bernhard Riis

Head of Innovation

Technical University of Denmark
Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science
T: +45 61 39 63 54​

Contributing persons

Aalborg University
Department of Computer Science

Anders Pall Skött

Head of Business and Innovation

University of Copenhagen
Department of Computer Science

Kasper Hallenborg

Head of Department

University of Southern Denmark
The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute

Jørgen Villadsen

Associate Professor

Technical University of Denmark
DTU Compute

Peter Ibsen

Senior Business Unit Manager

IT University of Copenhagen
Open Entrepreneurship

Søren Poulsen

Special Consultant

Aarhus University
Department of Computer Science

Helle Zinner Henriksen

Head of Department

Copenhagen Business School
Department of Digitalization

Martin Møller

Chief Scientific Officer

The Alexandra Institute