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Danish food industry gets a new powerhouse in Aarhus

When Aarhus University cuts the first sod for the new food science buildings in north of Aarhus, it is the start of the formation of a significant research based between health and food research and the food industry. The groundbreaking event for the new Aarhus University building will take place on 20 March, where the Chairman of the Central Denmark Regional Council, the Mayor of Aarhus and the Rector of Aarhus University will be among the participants.

2018.03.20 | Rasmus Rørbæk

The new building will be a key presence in Agro Food Park with its more than 9,000 m2 of laboratories, greenhouses and other research facilities. The building is expected to be completed at the end of 2019. (Ill: CF Møller/AU).

We may be a small country, but in terms of food we are big. Denmark is internationally renowned for producing sustainable, trustworthy and quality foods and for world-leading food research. When Aarhus University cuts the first sod for the new buildings for Department of Food Science, it is the beginning of an effort to consolidate and strengthen that position.

It is an ambitious project, which will be completed at the end of 2019 with 6,800 m2 office and laboratories and a greenhouse of 2,500 m2 as well as other research facilities.

The entire build will cost approx. 200 M DKK and will be the work place for 140 staff and students when it is completed.

Today the Department of Food Science has world-leading capabilities and interdisciplinary science teams with highly active national and international networks. This enables the Department to make a significant contribution to the global challenges related to food; food supply, food waste, sustainable food production during climate change, and to address the increasing frequency of lifestyle diseases through food and health research. These capabilities and strengths will come together in the new building and will become part of the existing dynamic environment at Agro Food Park in the north of Aarhus.

“Today Aarhus University demonstrates our serious focus on food science and food education and the truly necessary collaboration with the food industry and producers. I look forward to see the Department of Food Science forming even closer collaboration with the other players at Agro Food Park, and that the University obtains a pivotal role in the development of the largest development and innovation food environment in Denmark,” says Rector Brian Bech Nielsen, Aarhus University.

Danish Powerhouse

Most research activities are carried out in collaboration with industry or research partners, and dissemination, development, demonstration and implementation of research results for the benefit of industry and society are essential. This point is underlined by the Chairman of the Central Denmark Regional Council Anders Kühnau (S), who states the relevance of interdisciplinary research across knowledge institutions, companies and authorities:

“The Central Denmark region is a national powerhouse for food products. This is because we, in this region, excel at research and innovation. Small and medium-sized food enterprises with good ideas collaborate with researchers and vice versa. This is an important part of the business development we are investing in as a Region. Our cooperation on food and food products in the region is critical for our ability to maintain Denmark’s leading position within the food area. Therefore, strong research institutions are vital; institutions who can convert research into business and who can educate the talent layer that companies are looking for,” says Anders Kühnau.

Research and education at Department of Food Science at Aarhus University includes the entire chain from field to fork, and the health-promoting characteristics of food and food components. The Department will be located in the new facilities in Agro Food Park and will underpin and form collaboration with the many companies and organizations that are there today. Agro Food Park is home to 75 companies with approx. 1,000 employees and more are on their way. Therefore, the location of the new Department of Food Science is an important step towards strengthening collaboration with companies and a stepping-stone for a stronger and more connected food research and talent development at Aarhus University.

More positions of strength in one building

Aarhus University reaches an important milestone in its strategic research efforts here. Since 2011 the Department of Food Science has strengthened a number of research areas, and this is the culmination of many efforts over the years to secure strong research activities within the food area. Bringing the department together will strengthen the synergies between the already existing research activities between food scientists and society, and the focused efforts at Agro Food Park.

Each of the 140 staff and students, who will have this dynamic research and innovation environment as their workplace in 2019, will be able to contribute with their professional capabilities. With the broad research profile of the Department of Food Science it will be a key contributor in delivering research and innovation for the benefit of society and industry, explains Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen, Science and Technology:

“Aarhus University has an ambition to secure even closer collaborations between the University’s food-related research, its education programs and the food industry. The production of food is central for Denmark and innovation within the food sector is closely underpinned by research and development activities. Therefore, it is extremely important that we contribute to strong synergies between research and industrial environments. I see great opportunities for even more collaboration with both large and small companies when we open the doors to the ultra-modern Department of Food Science in Skejby in 2019. Moreover, the new buildings will support our unique start-up environment, where innovative ideas can become innovative business.

The link between future food research in Skejby and our strong, well-established research Centre in Foulum will form an important hub for food and agricultural research in Denmark,” says Niels Chr. Nielsen. He also sees unique perspectives in locating a significant part of Aarhus University’s food activities near the new university hospital, thereby ensuring a close connection with medical and clinical research environments with an interest in food, nutrition and health.

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place on 20 March from 11:00-13:00 at Agro Food Park in Aarhus.

Facts about the build

Building area: 6,800 m2 on 4 floors. Three floors above the ground will hold teaching facilities, offices, meeting rooms and laboratories with ultra-modern facilities, and a basement floor of 1,700 m2 for i.a. freezers, storage, postharvest facilities, etc.

An ultra-modern glass greenhouse of 2,500 m2 with climate chambers, multi-layer growing of plants etc.

In total 140 staff and students will have the new buildings as their workplace.

The buildings will be ready for use in November 2019.


Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen

Science and Technology

Email: dean.scitech@au.dk


Rector Brian Bech Nielsen

Aarhus University

Email: rector@au.dk


Head of Department Michelle Williams

Department of Food Science

Email: mw@food.au.dk

Food, DCA, Food, Knowledge exchange