Denmark Opens Research Center  

for Sustainable Transition


45 researchers will address the challenge of creating a more sustainable society through new insight and innovative solutions at a new Center for Design, Innovation and Sustainable Transition in Denmark.

 - “The growth and prosperity of society have been based on the exploitation of natural resources and energy (..). There is a need for new visions to ensure the further development of society. As researchers we can contribute with answers to what society can do at a point in time where the mechanisms behind the former growth are obsolete,” explains Head of DIST, Professor Ulrik Jørgensen, in a press release.

Grounded within the tradition of science and technology studies, the Center for Design, Innovation and Sustainable Transition (DIST) is dedicated to research on the socio-technical and economic dynamics of moving towards more sustainable societies through processes that engage a broad array of stakeholders. The research will be focused on the design of sustainable products and processes, how innovation processes result in change and the implications of these changes on society. DIST’s ambition is to work closely together with external partners and advance new research agendas most efficiently.

Denmark as Exploratorium of Innovation

According to the independent Danish think tank Mandag Morgen, Denmark has what it takes to become a global Exploratorium for the development of innovative and sustainable solutions as a response to the crises we are facing on a global scale.

Four years ago, Mandag Morgen pointed out seven global crises: finance, climate, food, health, poverty, resources and safety. These crises result in an increasing demand for innovative products and new service concepts, and according to Mandag Morgen, Denmark has some of the best requisites to play a vital role in finding these new solutions.

Denmark is a frontrunner within many of the affected areas like energy, healthcare, environment or food, and a range of international, Danish companies like Mærsk, Novo Nordisk or Vestas have already developed innovative solutions within logistics, pharmaceuticals, energy and other areas that have a huge market potential.

Energy efficiency and Danish government dedicated to sustainable growth

As an example, shipping giant Mærsk is developing the world’s most energy efficient container ship. Resource efficiency in general will be of great importance in the years to come and crucial if a service or product is to be competitive.

This is also the case in the wind power industry, where the Danish wind solutions provider Vestas constantly improves the efficiency of their products by developing more powerful turbines.

It is obviously an advantage for the overall framework conditions that the Danish government is actively supporting sustainable growth by focusing on selected areas of competences, helping to identify the best strategy within each area, facilitating cooperation and giving incentives.

Public-private cooperation on health care solutions

Also the Danish healthcare sector has the foundations to serve as a laboratory for new solutions. Denmark is renowned for the ability to cooperate across public institutions and private companies, and Mandag Morgen expects the new Danish super hospitals to become role models in how to create new efficient treatment systems.

The unique Danish citizen register and biobanks already present extraordinary opportunities for research that can solve the health care challenges in society.

About the Center for Design, Innovation and Sustainable Transition

DIST is a core part of Aalborg University’s strategy for building a strong, research based campus in Copenhagen that is nationally and internationally recognized within the fields of design, innovation and sustainable transitions.

The Center for Design, Innovation and Sustainable Transition – DIST – brings together researchers from the humanities, the technical and social sciences who are dedicated to conducting research on the socio-technical and economic dynamics of moving towards more sustainable societies and to developing modes of intervention that engage a broad array of actors.

Among current projects are Carbon 20 with the purpose of strengthening cooperation between city governments and companies about reduction of companies’ greenhouse gas emissions and iPower, a research and innovation platform devoted to the development of an intelligent and flexible energy system that can handle fluctuating power generation. The aim of the platform is a shift from consumption-driven power generation to production-driven electricity consumption. Find more projects at

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Maria Hillingsøe Stubberup

Maria Hilligsøe Stubberup

+45 4115 3125

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