Shortcut to New Knowledge was initiated by CDR in 2011 and completed in 2014. Financed by CDR and the ERDF, and operated by Aarhus University, Denmark.
Over the years several attempts have been made to increase the number of smaller companies collaborating with academia. However, a variety of barriers create a gap between the two different worlds. An analysis produced by CDR in 2008 showed how SMEs collaborating with research institutions were able to generate a better commercial profit compared to similar companies who innovated without researchers. At the same time the analysis identified some of the major barriers for the collaboration and recommended a new regional initiative, Shortcut to New Knowledge, to explore and generate new methods to bridge the gap.
Shortcut to New Knowledge was initiated by Central Denmark Region (CDR) in 2011 and completed in 2014. The project was financed by CDR and the EU Regional Development Fund and operated by Aarhus University, Denmark.
The overall objective of the project was to promote innovation in SMEs through knowledge collaboration between companies and researchers in order to create a basis for growth and potential commercial profit. As a condition SMEs involved should not have prior experience from interaction with knowledge institutions.
Furthermore the project aimed at changing the mind-set towards innovation and knowledge collaboration of the SME’s and researchers involved. Last but not least the project aimed at developing and exploring new methods for knowledge collaboration between business and academia.

Resources needed

Funded by Central Denmark Region (2.9 mio €), EU Regional Fund (0.7 mio. €) and the participating SMEs (2.8 mio €). Total budget: 6.4 mio. €
The region followed the process closely to gain learnings for future initiatives.

Evidence of success

Participating companies have gained: new innovation competences and experiences, new mind-set – The project made it easier for SMEs to innovate with academia, new innovation practice – continuing collaboration with researchers, and financial profit, but difficult to measure exactly.

Potential for learning or transfer

The project is interesting because it focus on SMEs without privious experiences with collaboration with knowledge institutions. In this project they got the opportunity to develop new products or services in collaboration with academia overcoming the common obstacles e.g. different objectives, different time horizons and different languages, mind-sets and cultures.
Furthermore, the project is interesting because it developed and explored new methods to facilitate knowledge collaboration between businesses and academia in search for the Next Practice. We learned that neutral, third party facilitating makes a difference. As a result Central Denmark Region has later on established facilitation as one of the key elements of knowledge collaboration.

Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.

Main institution
Growth Forum Midtjylland
Midtjylland, Denmark (Danmark)
Start Date
January 2011
End Date
June 2014


Please login to contact the author.

Good Practices being followed by

Ina Agafonova

DINT Foundation

Marina Vlachogiorgou

Municipality of Piraeus