Collaboration between state of North Carolina and Denmark is growing

NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson (left) and DTU President Anders Bjarklev (right) shake hands after signing a strategic partnership agreement in May 2023
NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson (left) and DTU President Anders Bjarklev shake hands after signing a strategic partnership agreement in May 2023.

The AIM-Bio program initiated a successful collaboration between the Technical University of Denmark and North Carolina State University in 2020. Interestingly, other collaborations and synergies between North Carolina and Denmark have emerged. Recently, a delegation from NC State traveled to Denmark to continue to building this strategic partnership. Those attending included Chancellor Randy Woodson; Mark Schmidt, associate vice chancellor, Partnerships; Jonathan Horowitz, associate vice chancellor, Research; Steve Lommel, associate dean and director, NC Agricultural Research Service; Ashton Croft, study abroad advisor; and Sarah Olson, director of Global Partnerships.

During the visit, several meetings and tours were held with representatives from the Helix Lab, Kalundborg Symbiosis, BioInnovation Institute, DTU Skylab, Novo Nordisk, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Technical University of Denmark, University of Copenhagen and others. During the visit, Chancellor Woodson delivered a talk about innovation at NC State University.

The AIM-Bio collaboration between NC State and DTU began in 2020, and the synergies between the universities have grown since then. Due to the many areas of alignment between the universities, a Memorandum of Understanding for Establishing a Strategic Partnership between NC State and DTU was created in May 2023. This agreement outlines the intent for cooperation in the areas of education, research, innovation, and workforce development. Scientific areas of interest include biotechnology, biomanufacturing, carbon capture, food and food technology, renewable energy, and sustainability, among others.

A connection between Denmark and the State of North Carolina also exists. An international agreement, The Cooperation on Offshore Wind Energy and Related Sectors agreement, was established in March 2023. The secretary of the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the director general of the Danish Energy Agency signed this Memorandum of Understanding on March 1, 2023. The agreement is expected to enhance North Carolina’s plan for offshore wind energy and support its goal to transition to a clean-energy economy. North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders noted, “The knowledge, data, and best practices accumulated by the Danish Energy Agency’s more than 30 years of offshore wind energy experience provide countless benefits to our state as we open opportunities with this growing industry.”

NC State University is also involved at the state level with representation on the NC Coalition for Global Competitiveness. Meeting monthly to advocate and share ideas are Tom White, Centennial Campus Partnership director in the Office of External Affairs, Partnerships and Economic Development; Sid Thakur, executive director of the Global One Health Academy and professor of molecular epidemiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine; Jose Cisneros, director of the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s International Programs; Michael Bustle, associate vice-provost for Global Engagement and the director of the Global Training Initiative; and Sarah Olson, director of Global Partnerships in the Office of Global Engagement. This participation at the state level is helping NC State advocate for and share information about initiatives such as AIM-Bio and engage with a variety of organizations across the state. This collaboration provides an opportunity for two-way conversations and sharing of ideas.

It’s clear that the seed that AIM-Bio planted was just the beginning of a strategic partnership with DTU and Denmark. Let’s see how this seed continues to grow and flourish.