To support the maintenance and especially the renewal of the GTS infrastructure, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science invests more than € 40 million annually in the institutes’ development of technological knowledge. This investment takes the form of performance contract activities which allow the institutes to develop new technological services ahead of market demand and in areas where the market itself cannot or does not meet the need.
The current performance contract period runs 2016–2018. The total value of performance contracts was € 46 million in 2017, corresponding to 9 per cent of the institutes’ total revenue.
Crucial for the GTS institutes
Performance contract funding is crucial for the GTS institutes to develop the skills and competencies that are needed in Denmark. They enable the GTS institutes to work with technologies ahead of market demand and in areas where the market alone cannot or does not perform this task. In their activities the institutes develop technological services targeted to Danish business needs, providing SMEs in particular with access to new and promising technologies and processes in Denmark. The performance contracts also allow for co-financing of competitive R&D activities within approved areas.
Allocated in two ways
Performance contracts are allocated in two ways. The majority of the contracts are awarded at the beginning of the contract period. This follows a process whereby the institutes put their ideas up for open discussion at www.bedreinnovation.dk. Once businesses, business organisations, public authorities and other interested parties have had the opportunity to openly comment on the suggestions and contribute to developing ideas for future GTS activities, the best proposals are taken forward for funding. In addition to this bottom-up process, a smaller tranche of funds can be granted for special efforts and works at the initiative of the Danish Agency for Institutions and Educational Grants. In the current performance contract period, these special inputs have included drone technology and work on the Fehmarn Belt project.
In the ongoing performance contract period (2016–2018), the main areas of activity for which funds have been allocated are production technology, ICT, and climate and environment. Other areas include food and health, materials technology, energy, building and construction, services and public innovation, and transport and other niche areas. A description of all the projects is available at www.bedreinnovation.dk (in Danish).
An example activity in the ICT area is the development, led by the Alexandra Institute, of interactive Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality systems for industrial training and instruction. This initiative is enabling Danish manufacturing businesses to derive far greater potential from these two technologies for developing solutions and methods than ever before.
In the food and health area, Bioneer is working with immune modulation in drug development and in stem cell therapy. The objective is to develop a range of new skills and services that will meet Danish businesses’ needs in the documentation of the immunological effects and safety of drugs, ingredients and medical devices.
Photo: FORCE Technology