sky at night with DTU and Novo Nordisk logoes

New industry collaboration initiative between DTU and "Novo Nordisk Circular for Zero incubator"

Thursday 20 Jan 22


Thomas J. Howard
Professor, Head of Innovation and Group Leader of Technology Entrepreneurship and Design
DTU Entrepreneurship
+45 50 11 59 82
DTU has recently signed an agreement with "Novo Nordisk Circular for Zero incubator" to run a 3-year circular economy track at the DTU X-Tech Entrepreneurship course.

The new circular economy track will be part of the DTU X-Tech Entrepreneurship course, where companies set a technology/invention challenge to explore new business opportunities. During a 13-week programme, a team of DTU Master's Engineering students and an assigned board member will develop a solution and business plan for a potential new spin-out company. 

“We believe that the combination of players from the industry and student talents from different backgrounds creates an excellent field for breakthrough thinking and solutions. We look very much forward to working with Novo Nordisk Circular for Zero Incubator and explore new ways on the path to reaching goals within sustainability and circular economy,” says Thomas J. Howard, Head of Technology Entrepreneurship in Practice, DTU Entrepreneurship. 

Besides the circular economy track, the project will also have a PhD student working on the project to research into the Open Entrepreneurship approaches required to commercialise internal sustainability projects with external teams.

Marianne Thellersen, Senior Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at DTU, comments, ”It’s great to have Novo Nordisk Circular for Zero Incubator on board the DTU X-Tech Entrepreneurship course. The strength of DTU X-Tech is that students come with various backgrounds and are working in diverse teams, which means combining different technologies in the quest for sustainable real-life problem solving. The result is often new perspectives for the industry as well as the students to consider.”  

Novo Nordisk Circular for Zero Incubator 

The Novo Nordisk Circular for Zero Incubator is working to discover, develop and implement circular economy and business opportunities within facility management and across multiple business areas of Novo Nordisk. The incubator is working to reduce the environmental footprint of Novo Nordisk. This is done in collaboration with internal and external partners, including academia.

“With this long-term university/industry partnership we aspire to find circular solutions to concrete challenges in relation to sustainability and climate. We will do this by linking academia and business, by fostering cross-disciplinary ideation and by enabling small solutions to be scaled,” says Kristina Lee, Corporate Vice President – Corporate Facilities, Novo Nordisk.

Steffen Leslie Beck-Pedersen, Associate Manager - Circular for Zero Incubator, Novo Nordisk, adds “This collaboration aims to elevate our capabilities to take circular economy moonshot ideas through the fragile infant stage to something fit for organisational operation”.

DTU X-Tech topics

From spring semester 2022, the topics at the DTU X-Tech programme will include:

  • Circular Economy
  • Carbon Capture and Storage
  • eHealth-tech
  • Water-tech
  • Food&ag-tech
  • AI/ML

DTU X-Tech Entrepreneurship course

DTU X-Tech is an accelerated-learning programme that combines engineering, business and marketing students with inventions, patents and technological needs from industry partners and DTU research. The outcome: A prototype, a business plan, and an entrepreneurial team ready to explore a new business venture.

Explore more about DTU X-Tech