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Is your solution the one Tommy Ahlers is looking for? Then you can win DKK 9 million

DKK 27 million is at stake in the Ministry for Higher Education and Science’s Green Challenge. Researchers at Danish universities can team up with companies to come up with solutions to three of the greatest green challenges of our time. Each winning team gets DKK 9 million so they can implement their solution.

News |   18. Mar 2019

Anne Thora Lykkegaard


How can we turn CO2 into a resource? How can we achieve a zero-plastic future? And how do we produce enough food for an ever-growing population?

These are the questions and challenges that the Ministry for Higher Education and Science will ask researchers who sign up for the new ministerial competition, Green Challenge.

“We need research to find new ways to solve some of the greatest climate and environmental issues. Therefore, I have created the Green Challenge where researchers compete in developing new, groundbreaking solutions to three challenges. I hope that the researchers, in collaboration with companies, will deliver solutions that will benefit the environment, the climate and our common future,” says the Minister of Higher Education and Science, Tommy Ahlers in a press release from the ministry.

Every researcher employed at a public research institution in Denmark can compete in the challenge and put together teams of participants from international universities, companies and relevant organizations.

Green Challenge is a way to show how important our researchers are when it comes to solving some of the big challenges we are facing as a society

Tommy Ahlers

They have until August 2023 to develop research-based solutions that address the three challenges. The teams that come up with the best solutions, or makes most progress on the way towards a solution, will be rewarded DKK 9 million to implement the solution technologically and commercially. In total, there is DKK 27 million for all three challenges.

“This is the first time that Denmark has used a competition of this size as a strategic driver of research and innovation. The new element is that they have to compete in solving concrete challenges that have been set at the start. And the winners are judged on whether their solution has the potential to move from the research phase to the commercial phase. In another words, whether it’s possible to commercialize the solution,” says Tommy Ahlers in the press release and continues:

“Finally, Green Challenge is a way to show how important our researchers are when it comes to solving some of the big challenges we are facing as a society.”

When the solutions are delivered in August 2023, an international panel will judge them. Among the assessment criteria are:

  • The expected reduction of climate and environmental impact.
  • The quality of research and innovation, e.g. the level of research, novelty value in relation to state-of-the-art technological performance and progress compared to previous best practice.
  • The possibility of whether the solution will work on a broad scale within a manageable timeframe, e.g. the size of a potential global demand, and expected market price compared to existing alternatives and the risk/realism of the project.

The winners will be announced by the end of 2023.

In the coming months, the ministry’s Green Challenge will be open for enrolment, and concrete rules for participation and the construction of teams will be launched. Furthermore, the evaluation criteria will be described in more detail, as well as the rules on how the reward should be used.


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