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After the cuts: Now the Danish government wants Nobel prizes

Danish research is to be of benefit to society, and among the best in the world. And it should set off Nobel prizes. This is according to the government’s new strategy, but they will not increase government funding which will remain at 1 per cent of GDP.

The government wants more world class Danish research. This is the message in a new research strategy launched Tuesday 5th December.

Scientific working environments are to be strengthened so that Danish researchers can bring home more Nobel prizes, says Minister for Education and Research Søren Pind (V) to the news site Politiken:

“It is important to pursue excellence. We need to establish strong scientific environments that can compete for the Nobel prizes.”

The strategy is “a long-term effort,” Pind said at the press conference.

Comes after billion kroner cuts

The new strategy is in the wake of the Danish government’s billion kroner cuts to education. Over the next five years, the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) alone will lose DKK 775.6 million in funding.

This had Rector of UCPH Henrik Wegener voicing his concern to TV2 News that he was not sure where the money to educate the future’s elite researchers was going to come from.

The government guarantees however that 1 per cent of Denmark’s GDP will continue to be devoted to research in the coming years.

Research is to be world-class, and to benefit society

In the new strategy, ‘Denmark – ready for the future’, it states that fierce international competition will mean that Denmark has to be even better as a research nation if is to be among the absolute world elite in the future.

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen (V) told the press conference that the new strategy has two main goals:

“First, Danish research must be of the highest quality. Danish research should go up to the Nobel Prize level. […] Second, research must be beneficial – being of the most benefit to society.”

According to the strategy, so-called Nobel centres are to be set up where elite researchers can conduct groundbreaking research.

Problems for foreign scientists

The Danish government has faced massive criticism recently for rigid rules that have penalized foreign researchers who work in Denmark with fines. But the researchers, according to the University of Copenhagen management, are needed by the university to conduct high-level research.

The University Post recently spoke to several foreign scientists employed at UCPH. They fear that the tight regulations will make other foreign researchers stay away.

“People will not find it attractive to come to Denmark if they are not allowed to do the work that usually goes with the position as a researcher,” a professor from the Faculty of Science said.

Søren Pind (V) stressed to the press conference however that the tight regulations for foreign scientists will be changed.

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