Foreign researchers flocking to Denmark

Efforts to ease the transition to living in Denmark may have helped increase the number of foreign researchers working at the nation’s universities

Danish universities are employing an increasing number of foreigner researchers according to an analysis by Berlingske newspaper.

In four years, the number of foreign researchers at the University of Copenhagen rose by 38 percent to around 1,300, while the University of Aarhus saw a 33 percent increase and now hosts around 800 researchers.

Around 35 percent of researchers at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) are foreign and while the university could not provide specific numbers, it estimated that that the number of foreign researchers has risen to around 1,300 this year.

According to Tine Messerschmidt Nielsen, the head of international recruitment at DTU, the university has actively sought to attract foreign talent over the past five to six years.

“We have a strategy to become an internationally renowned elite university,” Nielsen told Berlingske. “In a small country like Denmark, the talent base is limited. If we want to be among the best we therefore need to attract more international researchers.”

According to Berlingske, universities are making it easier for researchers to move to Denmark by handling much of the practical arrangements, while political initiatives, such as the City Council funded International House, help newly-arrived foreign researchers cope with bureaucracy.

While strict immigration rules often present difficulties to some researchers, Charlotte Rønhof, the head of research policy at the industry lobby group Dansk Industri, argues that the challenges are diminishing.

“Strong international research environments at universities are important for businesses that co-operate with public research institutions,” Rønhof told Berlingske.