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Press release

Novo Nordisk Foundation Awards DKK 11.2 million to a Silicon Valley Based Student Program

The Silicon Valley based entrepreneurial program, "International Bioinnovation Scholarship Program" has been awarded with an impressive grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The program is managed by Innovation Centre Denmark Silicon Valley and was formerly known as International Innovation Project (2IP). 

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a grant of DKK 11.2 million to the Silicon Valley based entrepreneurial program the “International Bioinnovation Scholarship Program” that will strengthen the pool of Danish bio-innovators. 

The International Bioinnovation Scholarship Program aims to expand the pool of Danish talents with unique entrepreneurial skills, mindset and network. Through the program, students will learn how to turn scientific discoveries into valuable solutions. Further, it is the mission to strengthen the Danish connection to Silicon Valley by giving the scholars an international network they can utilize in their subsequent careers in the Danish bioinnovation ecosystem.

Since the founding of the program in 2019, 21 Master students from Danish Universities have gone through the program with such success that we have decided to continue and expand the program of bringing talented graduate students to Silicon Valley for a five-month research stay in a start-up.

“The students become bioinnovators and learn entrepreneurship from the inside of start-ups in Silicon Valley and this is something we need more than ever to power the transition to a more sustainable and healthy future,” says Karin Hultman, Senior Scientific Manager for Innovation at the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

“We need more entrepreneurs that can develop new solutions and bring them to market and to fuel Denmark’s bioinnovation ecosystem with the leaders of the future,” she adds.

An evaluation of the program clearly shows that the program has been able to develop innovative and entrepreneurial skills among the graduated scholars, i.e. significantly increased the scholars innovation interest, self-efficacy, networks, and career goals, parameters of paramount importance for their future careers and entrepreneurial activities.

As one of the previous scholars, Lasse Vedel Jørgensen explains:

“(..) In addition to having a crucial role in my academic career, the [International Bioinnovation scholarship program] has also given me the courage to explore the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship. During the program, I got a lot of hands-on experience at Dorian Therapeutics by developing numerous market analyses that gave me great insight into the biotech market. In addition to this, I acquired skills in how to build and develop a startup as well as what investors are prioritizing in a funding round. After the program, I was employed as an external consultant at Dorian Therapeutics and worked remotely from Denmark (..). As a result of the 2IP program, I have just embarked on my own start-up, which offers a database of companies within the biotech industry to investors and companies.”

And Lasse is not alone, a survey of the alumni scholars shows that 90 percent have become better at applying research skills to real-world problems. Moreover, 90 percent of the graduates have used their network after the scholarship program ended and acquired tools to pursue a career as an entrepreneur or lead innovative projects.

During the next four years, the new program will offer 42 talented students from Danish universities the opportunity to spend five months in a Silicon Valley bioinnovation start-up working on a research project. At the same time, the students will be enrolled in an ambitious extracurricular program, where the scholars work on their own start-up idea and are exposed to the unique Silicon Valley mindset of disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship.

“The International Bioinnovation Scholarship Program is designed to instill the Silicon Valley spirit in the participating scholars. Silicon Valley is truly one of its kind when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship. It is home to some of the world's most successful start-ups, most innovative companies, best universities, and an enormous concentration of talent and capital. Training Danish scholars in the heart of this ecosystem, enables us to endow them with a unique mindset and network and return to them to Denmark as talented bioinnovators and future leaders,” says Allan Skårup Kristensen, Science & Innovation Attaché, at Innovation Centre Denmark, Silicon Valley

The International Bioinnovation Scholarship program is directed towards Danish students studying a STEM graduate degree. The first round of recruitment is already open with deadline on October 10th 2022, while the first scholars will arrive in Silicon Valley on February 1st 2023.

If you are interested in learning more about the program, check out

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