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Platform on Research and Innovation policies and systems

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Country Highlights

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Danish Council for Strategic Research

Det Strategiske Forskningsråd |

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Head Office
Copenhagen: Forsknings- og Innovationsstyrelsen Bredgade DK-401260 København K Denmark
International Representation

The mission of the Danish Council for Strategic Research is to support research within political prioritised research areas and to contribute to the strengthening of public and private research. The Council should search for new research tendencies and should provide the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation with research related advice. Private and public institutions may also receive research related advice from the Council.

Government agencies
Research funder
Research policy advisory body
Main activity
The main tasks of the Danish Council for Strategic Research are to initiate and make calls for funding of strategic research programmes, and to secure competition and assure the quality when sector ministries make calls for research financing beyond regular basic funding of research.
The Council has three different functions:
  • A funding function
  • An advising function, and
  • A strategic and analysis function 
Research funder
The programme committees of the Council distribute programme funding in strategically defined research areas. The budget of the various programmes varies, as does the number of appropriations for each programme call.
Research policy advisory body
The Council has advised the sector ministries in relation to the calls for programme funding. The objective of the counselling function of the Council is to contribute to the quality assurance of research projects which are carried out and financed by the sector ministries in competition between the research institutions. As part of its strategic and analysis function the Council in 2004 published the strategy "Research that counts", where the Council put forward a series of initiatives and pointers to long-term research efforts in Denmark.
The Council has developed a research-based advising function, based on the analysis of societal challenges and related developments in science.
The Council was established in 2004. In January 2004 the Act L 142 by the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation came into force concerning the second tier of allocation of resources to scientific research. The Act established a series of new institutions including the Danish Council for Research Policy, the Danish Council for Independent Research, the Danish Council for Strategic Research and the Danish Research Coordination Committee to strengthen the quality, coordination and internationalisation of Danish research and to strengthen the dissemination and application of research results.
In September 2004 the Strategic Research Council published a strategic document "Research that counts" (Forskning der nytter).
Main Structure
The Danish Council for Strategic Research consists of a management and a limited number of programme committees. The management consists of a chairman and eight members. The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation appoints the chairman and one member of the management. The remaining members of the management of the Council are appointed by the minister.

The management of the Council does not have the competence to appropriate funding itself. Programme committees are appointed when calls for funding are made or the funding is handed over to the Danish Councils for Independent Research. The work of the programme committees ends when the particular call is finalised. The members of a programme committee must be recognised researchers.
The Danish Council for Strategic Research has appointed the following programme committees:
The Strategic Research Council approves the distribution procedure and makes a judgment of the incoming proposals related to the individual ministers’ distributions of research appropriations. The Council may appoint so-called programme panels for support in this work. 

On the 1st of May 2006 a new research agency has been created in Denmark: the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (DASTI). The Agency will comprise the former Danish Research Agency and parts of the former department that dealt with research and innovation. The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (DASTI) is the secretariat of the Danish Research Counselling System: The Danish Council for Strategic Research, The Danish Councils for Independent Research, The Danish Research Coordination Committee and The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty. The Agency is also the operational gateway to the Ministry for both the Danish National Research Foundation and the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation. Furthermore, DASTI is responsible for Denmark’s participation in a number of international operational research organisations.

Component Organisations (if any)

The Danish Council for Strategic Research is comprised of a Board of Directors and a limited number of programme commissions. There are currently following programme commissions:

  • the Programme Commission on Health, Food and Welfare 
  • the Programme Commission on Sustainable Energy and Environment 
  • the Programme Commission on Strategic Growth Technologies 
  • the Programme Commission on Education and Creativity
  • the Programme Commission on Individuals, Health and Society 
  • the Programme Commission on Transport and Infrastructure

Characteristics of Operation

The Council has a Board which is responsible for advisory tasks and has decision-making authority on principle matters concerning the administration of strategic research. The members serve on the Board for a term of four years, with the option of a two-year extension. The Board decides which programme commissions to set up and appoints their members. The members of the programme commissions must be recognised researchers and their combined expertise must embrace the interdisciplinary aspects within the programme commission’s areas.

The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation is functioning as secretariat to the Danish Council for Strategic Research.

Number of Employees
The Council (management) has one chairman and 8 members. The number of programme committee members varies from 4 to 7 members.
Administrative staff
As the DASTI is functioning as the secretariat of the Council there is no administrative personnel.
Research policy priorities

According to the Action plan of the Danish Council for Strategic Research (Research that counts) the Council will prioritise:

  • Research related to the Innovation Accelerating Research Platforms (defined by the Government) e.g. in areas where
    • a) Denmark has internationally recognised research environments,
    • b) Denmark has internationally competitive business clusters and
    • c) there is an obvious need for research-based solutions and where new technology may provide innovative breakthroughs.
  • The build-up of the Centres of Strategic Research focusing on collaboration between public research institutions and society in general
  • Initiatives to arrange conferences and meetings throughout Denmark to establish the necessary dialogue in collaboration with relevant players
  • Quality assurance of the research programmes under the auspices of the other Danish ministries while working to coordinate them with its research initiatives and their principles
  • To map the Danish research institutions' use of and need for infrastructure, and submit proposals for a strategy of collaboration on the prioritisation of research infrastructure, both nationally and internationally
  • To work for a prompt and significant expansion of funding in the areas of food and health, energy and environment and nanotechnology, biotechnology and IT, and in the cross fields between the disciplines in these three action areas, as well as allocating funding to Centres for Strategic Research with no particular thematic focus.
Main Policy Priorities
1.2.1 Strategic Research policies (long-term research agendas)
Other Policy Priorities
1.1.2 Activities of official advisory and consultative forum
1.3.2 Horizonal measures in support of financing
Sectoral priorities

No particular sectoral priorities

Geographic priorities

No particular geographic priorities

Financing priorities
Development of Priorities

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation organised a broad process that addressed the strategic knowledge demands for the Danish society. The process resulted in a catalogue of priorities for strategic research - Forsk2015 - and was published in May 2008. All ministries and also the research councils and a broad range of branch organisations were included in this process.
Forsk2015 has identified 21 strategic research fields distributed over six key research areas. These six areas are: energy, climate and environment; production and technology; health and prevention; innovation and competitiveness; knowledge and education; and people and society. For every research field, the key challenges, knowledge demands and Danish research conditions and possibilities and finally, the national and international research perspectives have been identified.

Public research organisation
Not for profit
Last available data
Total annual budget in Euro
Total annual budget in national currency
Currency transformation method
1 EUR=7.4597 DKK
Detailed annual budget
Research funding in 2011: €13.9m Health, Food and Welfare; €20.6m Sustainable Energy and Environment; €15.2m Sustainable Food Production; €11.4m Strategic Growth Technologies; €4.0m Sustainable Transport and Infrastructure; €14.1m Individuals, Disease and Society.
Budget Trends

The budget of the Danish Council for Strategic research has increased from 2004 to 2010, but decreased again in 2011 and still more in 2012.  

Source of funds
Expenditure/Destination of funds
The Strategic Research Council has funded the following research programmes:  
The Danish Council for Strategic Research published in March 2012 calls for applications for funding of research activities within the following areas:
  • the Strategic research in Health, Food and Welfare (€23.6m);
  • the Strategic research in Sustainable Energy and Environment (€29m);
  • the Strategic research in Individuals, Disease and Society (€7m);
  • the SPIR - Strategic Platforms for Innovation and Research (€10.7m);
  • the Strategic research in Strategic Growth Technologies (€10.7m);
  • the Strategic research on Peace and Conflicts (€2.1m).
Funding cycles
The Council receives funding over the annual financial acts of the Danish ministries.
Recent and/or near future budget patterns (highlight major shifts)

It is planned to decrease the budget further over the next years: from €128.8m in 2011 to €47.1m in 2014.

Allocation of funds

In the Report by the Danish Council for Strategic Research Announcement of Strategic Research Programmes (published 2nd of March 2006) guidelines for the management of strategic research programmes are given. The guidelines give an overview over the most important selection criteria, procedures for collaboration, an annual plan, types of funding and procedure for the ex-ante evaluation of proposals.

Funding impact assessment processes

According to the Announcement of Strategic Research Programmes the following indicators are important for the assessment of the research results:

  • contribution to value creation in the public and the private sector
  • contribution to an improved knowledge base for important tasks and decisions in the society
  • contribution to an increase in the level of knowledge in certain fields of science
  • contribution to an increased number of PhDs
  • contribution to an increased recruitment of good researchers
  • contribution to an improved level of education generally
  • stimulation to innovation and number of science based enterprises
  • contribution to an increased demand after and application of new knowledge

All projects have to deliver annual reports and in the terms of referances the Strategic Research Council gives guidelines for the programme commissions regarding budget, use of external peers, management processes like dead lines (time elapsing between announcement, evaluation of proposals and signature of contracts).

Evaluation and review

In March 2008, the Council for Strategic Research decided to establish a Peer Review Panel of acknowledged, international researchers. The peer review panel is expected to raise the quality of the international peer reviews and strengthen the homogeneity of the assessments.
Source: Homepage of the council

The Danish research council system was evaluated in 2009. The final report was published in August 2009.


Evaluation of the Danish research council system (August 2009)

Website in original language
Website in English
Correspondent name
Antje Klitkou
Document Date

Country Highlights

INNO+ catalogue
Denmark 24/01/2014
In connection with the new innovation strategy the Danish Government has started a process that...
New minister of science and education
Denmark 03/02/2014
Sofie Carsten Nielsen (Radikale Venstre) has been appointed as the new minister of science and...
Cip logo Cip logo

Version: 2.3.0