In 2023, McKinsey & Company showed in an analysis that water technology is among the 10 growth platforms with the greatest potential to create value in Danish business based on Denmark’s current strengths and global development trends. But the first comprehensive analysis of water technology research in Denmark – carried out by IRIS Group for Water Valley Denmark with support from the Grundfos Foundation – shows that public funding for water technology research – unlike other promising sectors – has stagnated over the past decade. For example, public research support for robot technology in Denmark has increased by 330% in the same period.
Other highlights of the report
- The important role of water technology: The report underlines the critical role of water technology in addressing societal challenges such as polluted water resources, climate change and the green transition. At the same time, water is also increasingly playing a key role in industries such as food, health and energy and in connection with the operation of future PtX energy plants.
- Global leading position: Denmark has a global leading position in water technology research with the highest annual number of publications per million inhabitants. However, the report highlights that the position of strength is challenged in light of increased water technology research in Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands.
- Fragmentation and vulnerability: The report identifies the risk of losing ground to competitors unless efforts are made to unite, prioritize and support Danish water technology research.
“With Water Valley Denmark, we work for a strengthened innovation effort within water technology by gathering research institutions, utilities and companies in joint collaborations to solve major societal challenges and at the same time support increased exports of Danish water technology solutions,” says Ulla Sparre, CEO, Water Valley Denmark.
The report identifies improvement potentials within five key areas that can strengthen the conditions for water technology research in Denmark. This includes the need for a long-term national strategy, increased emphasis on strategic research, strengthened incentives for research institutions, supportive regulations for utilities and the development of a strong talent base.
“As Grundfos’ main owner, we can only endorse the goal of doubling the export of Danish water technology by 2030. We now have a clear picture of where and how Danish research can best be contribute, so it’s just a matter of getting started on exploiting existing knowledge – and closing the gaps that have also been uncovered – if we as a society want to achieve our ambitions,” says Kim Nøhr Skibsted, Executive Director, Grundfos Foundation.
About Water Valley Denmark
Water Valley Denmark is a non-profit association that brings together water industry partners on innovation that contributes to the water industry’s goal of a climate-neutral water sector by 2030 and the government’s goal of doubling Danish exports of water technology. The association is member-based and open to all Danish organizations working with the development of new water technology solutions.