From the inauguration of the Fehmarn Innovation Link. Photo: Femern Belt Development

Denmark aims to have a specific strength in green and sustainable mega-infrastructure projects. Fehmarn Innovation Link in Rødbyhavn will be the focal point.

Thursday 1 September 2022, the Danish Minister of Business, Simon Kollerup, inaugurated the Femern Innovation Link in Rødbyhavn, which will make Denmark a world leader in green and sustainable mega-infrastructure.
In the new centre, experiences from the Fehmarn project are to be collected and made available to a wider circle of Danish companies, educational institutions and business development actors.
The initial actors behind the new centre are: the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Roskilde University (RUC), vocational school Zealand, as well as Odense Robotics, We Build Denmark, Business Hub Zealand and Femern Belt Development. 

"Today we are taking a step in the right and, most importantly, green direction. I have high expectations for the innovation center and am happy that there is such a strong and broad alliance of actors behind it.. It will not only create more construction but also more green jobs in rural areas," says Simon Kollerup, Danish Minister of Business, at the inauguration.

Many activities in progress

The Fehmarn connection is a state-of-the-art construction, which gives the opportunity to follow new paths.

Initiative has already been taken for the first innovation collaborations and network, which commence in the autumn, just like there is the opportunity for start-ups with a special interest in construction to establish themselves in the centre.

DTU, RUC and Zealand have started teaching activities and master's courses. There is also the opportunity for companies to be introduced to new technologies, drones and robots, which can contribute directly to greener construction and increased efficiency.

The ambition is that the Fehmarn Innovation Link, in the frame of wide collaborations, will create more sustainable building materials and technology for both construction and mega-infrastructure projects of the future.

New residential college moves DTU students to Rødbyhavn

Fehmarn Innovation Link will, in the first phase, be housed in temporary premises in Rødbyhavn.

As part of the centre, a residential college will be established, where researchers and students from, amongst others, DTU, will be able to be accommodated in connection with their work in the innovation centre.

"It is an important ambition for DTU, that our students and researchers absorb knowledge and participate in those projects where important knowledge can be created. The Fehmarn Belt construction is a fantastic opportunity for our students, which is why we are establishing a residential college. It is my hope that around 50 students a year will complete their education in collaboration with Fehmarn Innovation Link," says Anders Overgaard Bjarklev, Rector at DTU.

Denmark as world leader in mega-infrastructure

Michael Svane, chairman of the centre's Advisory Board and deputy chairman of project partner Femern Belt Development, believes that there are great perspectives in the new innovation centre.

"The construction of the Fehmarn Fixed Link is an obvious opportunity to make Denmark a world leader in mega infrastructure projects. With Fehmarn Innovation Link, a facility has been created, where the knowledge that is built up during the Fehmarn project can be anchored and can become of inestimable importance for companies, educational institutions, business promotion actors and more. It will give us a competitive advantage in relation to future constructions both at home and abroad. This applies particularly to sustainable construction and workforce skill enhancement," says Michael Svane.

Fehmarn construction strengthens the whole of Denmark's construction industry

Experiences gained from the construction will provide an important knowledge boost, not just for construction in Region Zealand, but also in the rest of Denmark.

This is the opinion of Mads Váczy Kragh, director of Business Hub Zealand, who leads the “Business Lighthouse Femern for sustainable construction and business development based on the Fehmarn-Belt connection”.

"Construction is one of the Zealand region's strongest industries, and in the new Fehmarn Innovation Link we are helping to make the companies even stronger through important new knowledge and concrete experiences. But Denmark's entire construction industry will, in the coming years, benefit from new knowledge about i.e. sustainable construction, which the center can collect and thereafter disseminate to employees in the construction companies," says Mads Váczy Kragh.

Facts about Fehmarn Innovation Link

“Business Lighthouse Femern for sustainable construction and business development based on the Fehmarn Belt connection” will ensure that the Fehmarn connection becomes a catalyst for future growth and development in Region Zealand.

Business Lighthouse Femern therefore supports Fehmarn Innovation Link, which will be a benchmark for future green construction and infrastructure projects. The center will be a hub for collaboration between knowledge institutions and companies, that will in turn support the construction industry as a specific strength in Region Zealand.

Fehmarn Innovation Link is open from 1st September 2022, and is located in Rødbyhavn close to the tunnel element factory and the other construction activities. The location provides a unique opportunity for knowledge gathering, research and action-based learning, which extends all the way out to companies. A Residential College with overnight accommodation for students and researchers will be attached to the centre.

Research, test and demonstration facilities of international class will be available at Fehmarn Innovation Link, on the longer term. The facilities shall give knowledge institutions, startups and companies the opportunity to create collaborations around the development of future solutions for green construction through open innovation. “Business Lighthouse Femern for sustainable construction and business development based on the Fehmarn-Belt connection is financed by REACT-EU funds”.

Summary of Business Lighthouse Femern

Business Lighthouse Femern will be a growth train and contains these main activities:

  1. Innovation opportunities for the building and construction industry

Collection of knowledge and research within mega-infrastructure and new green solutions and materials, e.g. via Fehmarn Innovation Link. The goal is to strengthen the Danish position within the sustainable construction and nurture the great export potential.

  1. Attractive tourist destination

The Fehmarn connection will make Region Zealand an even more attractive tourist destination, and the region will host more tourists seeking nature and coastal experiences and who focus on sustainability. This requires investment in new and larger accommodation and tourist facilities.

  1. Upgrading of employee skills

New business-oriented courses will ensure qualified labour on both the short and longer term. This shall be done through industry-specific enhancement of employee skills.

  1. Business potential along the motorway

The Fehmarn connection offers unique opportunities for companies to take advantage of the logistical opportunities created by the connection, and for the area along the motorway corridor to become a center for a growing business community, just as the Fehmarn Innovation Link makes region Zealand more interesting for those construction industry actors working within green construction in the future.

  1. Recruitment of skilled labour from abroad

A greater labour supply is a pre-requisite for future growth in the region and in Danish companies. Attracting skilled foreign labour can be one way of ensuring the required workforce.

Activities in Business Lighthouse Femern are financed by REACT-EU funds.

“Business Lighthouse Femern for sustainable construction and business development based on the Fehmarnbelt connection” is one of eight Danish Business Lighthouses that have been awarded funds by the Danish Business Promotion Board.

Behind “Business Lighthouse Femern for sustainable construction and business development based on the Fehmarn-Belt connection” is a broad consortium of knowledge institutions, business developers and vocational schools. Business Lighthouse Femern is anchored in Business Hub Zealand and the other partners are Femern Belt Development, DTU, RUC, Zealand, We Build Denmark, Copenhagen Capacity, Business Lolland-Falster, Danish Technological Institute and CELF, as well as the other business schools in Region Zealand.

Business Lighthouse Femern is financed by REACT-EU funds.

Around 80 representatives from the education and business sector took part in the inauguration of Fehmarn Innovation Link. Photo: Femern Belt Development