New impressive hub ready to boost Innovation in Aalborg

Interview with Morten Dahlgaard, Deputy Director, Innovation at Aalborg University.


AAU INNOVATE - Science & Innovation Hub is a new place for interdisciplinary research, innovation, entrepreneurship, talent and business development at Aalborg University.

The vision is to foster innovation and entrepreneurship across disciplines and achieve new business ideas and products through creative collaboration and partnerships.

- Through AAU INNOVATE - Science & Innovation Hub we intend to increase the focus on innovation originating from the University, and we want to attract more investments to our entrepreneurs and startups, says Morten Dahlgaard, the Deputy Director, Innovation at Aalborg University. 

- We have many successful projects already, but we need to do even better. The potential is enormous and we want to see more research projects turn into business.

Morten Dahlgaard's job is to facilitate collaboration between the University and the rest of the world. He believes this new innovation house can help the University realize a ton of hidden potential and attract new exciting opportunities.

- AAU INNOVATE is going to be the new rendez-vous point for researchers and students, who are seeking collaboration across faculty and area of expertise. Within these walls, science projects are carried out together with the partners of the university and the business community.

 - Some say that researchers are generally not very good at business and vice versa. But if we can connect the right people, we are able to take world-class research and transform it into jobs, growth, and innovative products.

The residents at the innovation hub are pre-commercial which means they are working on their business potential, but don’t have revenue and investors on board yet. This stage of the startup journey is what characterizes the whole building and the architectural ideas behind it.


Some say that researchers are generally not very good at business and vice versa. But if we can connect the right people, we are able to take world-class research and transform it into jobs, growth, and innovative products.

A gateway between the university and the world

Morten wants to inspire the partners of the University to take part in different projects and processes – some for meetings or workshops others for larger events.

- This house is considered a success when we have activity all year round. Many events here will have a broad appeal and some will be very specialized towards a given subject. Either way, it's important that these amazing new facilities will be used.

The new house also has an important internal role to play.

- Extremely important research is conducted at Aalborg University but collaboration with the outside world is what can make the ideas and projects come alive. This new house can help the different university programmes and research groups get in touch with the world. 

The facilities on the ground floor are open for everyone within ordinary opening hours. This includes the new café where families can enter from the street and have a delicious meal. But as you head upstairs, the facilities are reserved for working residents and project groups.  

AAU INNOVATE is home to many different prototype labs, an auditorium, a pitch room, a restaurant on the top floor, an investors lounge, an audio lab, podcast rooms, a wood workshop, a tv studio and much more.



Learn about the architectural frame of the AAU INNOVATE - Science & Innovation Hub

What is with Aalborg?

Morten is born and raised in Aalborg and has experienced with his own eyes how Aalborg has grown.

- Aalborg has fantastic potential – in every way. We have culture, community and green spaces and areas. We are close to water and the sea. We have a world-class university conducting world-class research. The university is open to business and collaboration. Through the university, relevant partners have an opportunity to create pioneering innovation within their line of business.

- In Aalborg, we think differently and the form of study at the university is an example of that. The backbone of the university is problem-based learning and group work.

- At the university, the students learn to operate within groups, and they learn important skills as i.e. collaboration across disciplines and conflict management, skills appreciated by employers.

- Aalborg University has proven to attract a high proportion of students who come from non-academic homes and we believe that the prospect of working in teams is unleashing a large innovation potential.

- Aalborg is not a huge city from an international perspective and that’s okay because the size creates some unique traits and opportunities. But we still need to improve the international promotion and storytelling.

Senior Investment Manager at Invest in Aalborg, Helena Peyron agrees and elaborates.

- Aalborg is packed with great stories and opportunities and we are working hard to get our name out there. The competition for attention is fierce, but we are gaining momentum, especially within sustainability.

- When we work on attracting new investments to the city, the university is probably our strongest selling point. The university is leading in e.g. many technical areas and is ranked as Europe’s best within engineering.


What does this new house mean to Aalborg?

According to Helena the new AAU INNOVATE - Science & Innovation Hub opens new doors for Aalborg.

- Through the university, we can offer interested companies a highly educated workforce and pioneering research. The innovation hub can help us show the world what the students and the researchers can do together and show companies the possibilities for innovation and partnerships.

- We tell the stories and let the companies know they can test and “plug-and-play” some of their solutions at the university. This is an extremely important asset for the city. Sometimes R&D partnerships with the university can grow into jobs and revenue.

- All together this new house and these amazing surroundings might help take innovation in Aalborg to new heights.

Read more about AAU INNOVATE here...



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Meet Helena Peyron

Senior Investment Manager, Invest in Aalborg

Helena has many years of experience within IT, tech, life science, cluster management, funding and international relations - in particular within the Nordic countries and the US. She is a trust builder by heart and walks a mile to match your enquiries and help build your business case.

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