The Danish Science Festival

The Danish Science Festival

The Danish Science Festival is an annual week-long festival taking place in April. The festival is comprised by approximately 700 different events that attract around 75,000 visitors at more than 100 locations across Denmark.

Behind the Festival

The Ministry of Higher Education and Science is the primary organiser of the festival. The Secretariat of the Danish Science Festival is anchored in the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education, and has 2-3 fulltime employees responsible for the overall organisation, coordination, press handling, and marketing.

What is the purpose of the festival?  

The purpose of the Danish Science Festival is to:

  • Celebrate the fundamental element of research: curiosity
  • Establish a meeting point between researchers and the general public
  • Showcase how research and innovation contribute to solving social challenges and issue
  • Support public engagement in research and enhance the relationship between researchers and the general public.

Who are the local organisers?

Every year approximately 200 local organisers arrange different events across Denmark during the Danish Science Festival. These are primarily universities, education- and cultural institutions, private and public institutions as well as research associations. However, everyone with feasible ideas and a suitable location qualifies as an organiser.

Who is the target group?

We aim to reach out to everyone interested in science and innovation. Moreover, the festival targets a segment of the population who usually does not interact with research and innovation. Local organisers are free to define their own specific target group, e.g. families, students or children, in order to make science and innovation accessible to everyone.

What takes place during the festival?

Visitors can experience all kinds developed with the vision of communicating research and innovation in an interesting, captivating and accessible manner. The most popular happenings include open house events, hands-on experiments, lectures, guided tours, shows, and debates.

Book a Researcher

“Book a Researcher” is a programme where groups of at least 20 persons can order a researcher to give a lecture within their area of specialisation during the festival week. The lectures are free of charge.

The high school programme

Every year the Danish Science Festival and the Danish Council on Ethics develop a national high school programme comprised by multidisciplinary teaching material on specific research-ethical topics. The teaching material is presented two months prior to the festival, and students work on relevant cases in their respective classes. During the festival week a live panel debate between researcher’s ethicist and students takes place, aiming to make students aware of different perspectives and viewpoints of ethical challenges within science. With basis in their newfound ethical insight, students contribute to the debate through individual arguments and comments. The debate is livestreamed, allowing other high schools to participate and ask researchers and ethicists live questions online.

On the day of the debate The Danish Council on Ethics releases a statement on the specific ethical topic. These statements are often quite controversial and attract high levels of media attention.

School Programme

In 2016 the Danish Science Festival launched the national school programme; a result of a close cooperation between the National Children’s Libraries’ website, the University of Copenhagen’s youth programme, and the Danish Science Festival. The programme introduces students to natural science and technology in a fun and interactive manner that relates to their everyday life.

The School Programme is brought to the students through public libraries, who sign up to get a box of multidisciplinary teaching material and invite local schools to visit the library during school days. The teaching material renewed according the annual topic, and is developed in line with learning goals of the specific classes, enabling teachers to incorporate the library visits as part of the curriculum.

The School Programme starts three weeks prior to the festival and serves as a build-up to the festival in regards to media coverage.

Grand opening

Each year the Danish Science Festival is launched at a grand opening organised by the Secretariat and the annual partner. Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary is patron of the festival and attends the opening.

The Research Communication prize

Every year a researcher or a research team is awarded with the Research Communication prize of 100,000 DKK. They are awarded on the basis of an extraordinary effort in communicating their field of research to the general public. The prize is presented at the grand opening of the festival by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary.