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RIO Country Report Denmark 2016

The annual RIO Country Report offers an analysis of the R&I system in Denmark, including relevant policies and funding, with particular focus on topics critical for EU policies. The report identifies the main challenges of the Danish research and innovation system and assesses the policy response.


Executive summary


  • Denmark’s macro-economic situation is stable and has recovered since the economic and financial crisis, but growth rates have been modest at 1.6% and 1.1%, in 2015 and 2016.
  • Productivity growth has been weak for the last decade. Achieving stronger productivity growth would be important for addressing the macroeconomic challenges related to slow growth, increasing costs from an ageing population and preserving a generous social welfare system.
  • Danish R&D intensity is about 3% of GDP and Denmark is an innovation leader in the EU, but there is still a potential to increase the innovation performance in particular of SMEs.
  • Budgets for publicly funded R&D will be cut by 2% each of the next four years. However, public R&D is still projected to be close to 1%.

Main R&I policy challenges

  • Coping with structural changes to the R&I system and reinforcing the links between actors towards enhanced commercialization of public research. Despite the good performance of the R&I system, there continues to be a potential for improving the innovation performance by strengthening the interactions in the system.
  • Increase the quality and availability of human resources. With the recovery from the economic and financial crisis, shortages of skilled labour have begun to emerge in several industries as well as outside the larger cities.
  • Support innovation and commercialization capabilities among SMEs to boost productivity. There is scope for further support to improve innovation management and execution capabilities in the business sector, in particular amongst SMEs.
  • Invest in R&I infrastructure. Research and innovation can support an increase in productivity when new technologies are taken-up by the public and private sector, and when human resources are well allocated across over-average performing economic sectors. Denmark has had a weak development of private investment in the aftermath of the economic and financial crisis. There is scope for investments in R&I infrastructure.

Main R&I policy developments in 2016

  • Cuts in budgets for public research
  • Industrial Ph.D. and Post-Doc programmes reinforced
  • Targeted sectoral strategies
  • Cluster and network strategy 2016-2018
  • Review of the business support system
Geo coverage
Report year
Official publication date
Friday, 12 May, 2017
Last update: 24/10/2017 | Top | Legal notice | Contact | Search