14 private and public companies in Kalundborg Symbiose, Novo Nordisk and other local business partners have joined the Danish Technical University of Denmark, DTU in offering a new, part-time Industry Master of Science (MSc) in Engineering within Biomanufacturing in Kalundborg.
The MSc is born to support the industry’s growing need for engineers who can support bio-based and pharma-based companies with efficient production.
HIGH DEMAND FOR biomanufacturing COMPETENCES
The study line in biomanufacturing is offered from September 2023 and is a four-year part-time program in which the students combine their studies with working in Scandinavia’s largest bioindustrial cluster, becoming part of the life science environment in Kalundborg.
The line includes courses in production technology and chemical and biological transformation processes such as fermentation. The students also learn how companies go from having an idea to designing a product, regulating processes, and ensuring a uniform and high product quality.
And the industry in Kalundborg needs these competences, as they produce a range of different products; from enzymes and insulin to food ingredients, chemicals and fuels based on biological, chemical, catalytic, and thermal processes and through increasing use of biomass to replace fossil resources. All of which contribute to speed up the green transition.
engineers with local affiliation
Kalundborg is on a fast-paced growth journey. Here you will find more than 5,000 industry jobs across a range of Denmark’s largest biotech companies.
Novo Nordisk contributes as a growth driver with its current almost 4,000 employees and the production of half the world’s insulin from the largest insulin factory in the world in the city.
From 2000 to 2020, Novo Nordisk has invested approx. DKK 1 billion annually in capacity expansions. And towards 2027, the company will invest an additional DKK 18 billion in production facilities in Kalundborg in connection with the establishment of four new factories and the expansion of three existing factories. These investments create a total of 425 new jobs.
“The expansions at Novo Nordisk in Kalundborg will create additional production capacity across the entire value chain from production of the active medicinal product to finished product facilities to keep up with the demand for Novo Nordisk’s products. It is therefore crucial that the company can continue to attract and retain sufficient qualified labour for the growing production facility in Kalundborg,” says Michael Hallgren, Senior Vice President and Head of Production, Novo Nordisk Manufacturing Kalundborg.
Michael Hallgren believes that an MSc program targeted the pharmaceutical industry’s competence needs will benefit the industry in Kalundborg and in the rest of Denmark, as well as life science in general. He emphasizes that it is crucial that the study program is located near the production sites where the graduates are employed, so that the food chain is anchored locally, and qualified labour can more easily be recruited and retained locally:
“We can see that engineers educated locally in close collaboration with the industry have an extra dimension. Through the strong collaboration across the industry and educational institutions, the local students have acquired knowledge of many of these disciplines and tasks already at an early stage in their studies, they know the corporate culture, and have established a wide network. This facilitates onboarding and training processes and also means that they can quickly contribute to performing specific production tasks. At the same time, our expectation is that we can retain the local graduates for longer, precisely because of their local affiliation.”
Another way in which Kalundborg supports talent retention and local affiliation is the research and education center Helix Lab, where MSc students from Danish universities and abroad have the opportunity to do their thesis project work in collaboration with the Kalundborg industry, focusing on industry 4.0 and/or industrial sustainability.
biosolutions in the biotech city and beyond
Bio-based and pharma-based companies in general grow, their production increases, and new companies are attracted to Denmark. This creates an increasing need for highly qualified engineers who can drive the complicated processes involved in bio-based production.
“There is a great need for graduates in technical chemistry aimed at biotech and pharma. Not only in Kalundborg, but also in a number of other places in Denmark. Therefore, we need chemical engineers who can raise fundamental knowledge about chemical and biological reactions to an industrial scale,” says Kim Dam-Johansen, Head of Department at DTU Chemical Engineering.
The Industry Master of Science (MSc) in Engineering within Biomanufacturing is part of DTU’s strategy to educate more engineers throughout Denmark, and it aims at contributing to, maintaining, and developing bio-based production in Denmark.