Developing Artificial Islands in Denmark Could Lead to 12,000 Life Science Jobs

Faroe Islands, Denmark

The Faroe Islands in Denmark. 

Could Denmark become the site of Europe’s answer to Silicon Valley? The Danish government is banking on it. If it comes to fruition, the project could provide up to 12,000 life science jobs.

The government of Denmark is moving forward with a plan to build nine artificial islands on the coast of Copenhagen, The Guardian reported. When the artificial islands are completed, there will be space for an expected 380 companies, most of which are expected to come from the tech industry, according to the report.

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The creation of the artificial islands will have a cost of about $480 million, according to Business Insider, and will provide approximately 10.5 miles of land to the Copenhagen coast. The project, if approved by the Danish government, would take about 18 years to complete. If given the greenlights, construction of the islands could begin by 2022. The expected date of completion would be 2040, according to the report.

Copenhagen is no stranger to artificial islands. Last year, plans were launched to build an artificial island that will provide housing for up to 35,000 people.  

When all is said and done, if it’s said and done as the government hopes, the project could provide approximately 12,000 jobs in fields like biotechnology and life sciences, according to the report. With an intense focus on technology companies, Brian Mikkelsen, Denmark’s Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, told TV2 news in Denmark that the islands could become Europe’s version of Silicon Valley, The Guardian said.

Copenhagen is running out of usable space for housing and business and the construction of the artificial islands would be part of an answer to that issue.

The area around Copenhagen, known as Zealand, combined with a neighboring area of Sweden, comprises an area known as Medicon Valley. The region is home to 350 biotech, pharma and medtech companies. In addition to the number of companies, the region is home to nine universities that employ nearly 7,000 life-sciences researchers. The addition of the islands and the new biotech and tech companies would only strengthen the region’s reputation as Medicon Valley.

Last year, the Danish government provided a new growth plan to spur on the growth of the life sciences industry in that country. The government’s growth plan for the life sciences industry includes initiatives that are spread across six-core focus areas. Those areas include improving the framework conditions for research and development activities, improving the framework conditions for conducting clinical trials, boosting the Danish Medicines Agency, and creating better access to qualified and skilled labor, according to the government’s website.

The pharmaceutical industry, led by companies such as Lundbeck and Novo Nordisk, is one of Denmark’s most productive sectors. Government data shows that the pharma industry in that country has productivity that is “measured on the value added per employee being approximately 2.6 times as large as the business community as a whole.”

Ellen Trane Nørby, Denmark’s Minister for Health, said the government will “introduce risk sharing in the subsidy system” and evolve its history of strong cooperation between the public health service and the private health sector. Nørby said the plan will make clinical research more attractive in Denmark and help to “promote a strong and European-oriented Danish Medicines Agency.”

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