Visiting Scandinavia and many of its institutions is like opening a window into the future, particularly when it relates to sustainability, energy, healthcare, digital innovation and start-ups. After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic Cisco hosted its 10th international higher education study tour, with many lessons learned that can be brought back to Australia. A number of the big themes that shone through and relate to Australia’s social, environmental and economic future include;
- A global mindset. Scandinavian universities are focused on global challenges and creating international connections. At DTU 74% of research papers have an international co-author.
- Serial innovation and entrepreneurship. Given the smaller size of the Nordic countries, Denmark in particular, recognise its best asset is the creativity and ingenuity of its people. The focus on business creation was particularly evident in Denmark where Denmark University of Technoogy (DTU) alone has created more than 900 start-ups.
- Triple helix partnerships. Universities in Norway and Denmark collaborate closely with government and industry to create scale but also impact.
The tour started in Oslo with visits to Oslo University, Radium University Cancer Hospital and OsloMet. We also had the chance to visit Cisco’s Experience Centre in Oslo which is responsible for a lot of the new product development in Cisco’s smart building and collaboration suite. The tour concluded in Copenhagen with visits to DTU and the Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab (DOLL). The tour was supported by the Australian Ambassador to Denmark, Norway and Iceland Kerin Ayyalaraju who also attended some of the site visits and hosted a reception event.
I, like many of the delegates on the tour, have come back inspired by what we have seen and enthusiastic about the possibilities for Australia and the role that the National Industry Innovation Network (NIIN) can play in contributing to Australia’s economic and social future.
Read the 2023 Cisco Higher Education Study Tour report here.