From early childhood, Danes are taught that collaboration is key to achieving their goals. It is a notion that is deeply ingrained in the fabric of Danish society, including Copenhagen’s thriving life science environment. Copenhagen is home to numerous biotech and pharmaceutical companies and leading research institutions and universities, which have helped create a vibrant life science ecosystem that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship and scientific breakthroughs.
All this is underpinned by the city’s strong tradition for collaborations between the government, private sector and academia — also known as the triple-helix model. Over the years, Copenhagen’s research institutions and private sector have joined forces with the government to tackle some of the most pressing health challenges, looking at prevention, developing new treatments for diseases and discovering new ways to improve human health.
“Solving the world’s complex health issues is a matter of generating ideas and producing solutions.”
“Solving the world’s complex health issues is a matter of generating ideas and producing solutions,” explains Trine Winterø, vice-dean of the University of Copenhagen’s faculty of health. “Expertise from many different scientific disciplines is required if real-world, evidence-based results shall be formed, especially if to be applied on a global scale. The flow of knowledge and skills across sectors generates innovation. And the depth of Copenhagen’s academic tradition, training, research, education, innovation and experience plays a vital role in this flow.”
Now, a new and innovative, cross-sector partnership, Copenhagen Life Science, has seen the light of day. The core goals of the partnership, which runs until 2030, include bringing more equality in health and developing new solutions to a number of diseases, starting with obesity and mental health. The partnership is comprised of regions, municipalities, pension companies, foundations, academia, research institutions, SMEs, startups and Copenhagen’s official convention bureau, Copenhagen CVB.
International congresses and other scientific events play a key role in this ambition, providing the perfect platform for global knowledge sharing. In fact, congresses are well positioned to bring together some of the brightest minds across scientific disciplines, industries, and borders to share insights, research and solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. In this case, challenges related to global health.
Long-term positive impact
The combination of having scientific strongholds such as life science and being a popular destination for international congresses gives Copenhagen a competitive edge. Ranking as one of the world’s leading destinations for international congresses, the Danish capital welcomes more than 100,000 scientists, specialists and business professionals on an annual basis. Hosting this many delegates each year brings a significant boost to the local economy. However, there is a general consensus in Copenhagen that the value that comes from hosting a large international congress can and should go far beyond the immediate economic gain. Not only to justify the carbon footprint and other adverse impacts an event like this may cause, but also because congresses are potential catalysts for positive societal change in the city and country hosting the meeting, and for the global community. Copenhagen CVB, therefore, works strategically and systematically, through its Copenhagen Legacy Lab initiative, to create and capture long-term positive impact from congresses, together with local stakeholders and international associations.
The Danish capital welcomes more than 100,000 scientists, specialists and business professionals on an annual basis.
“We as a convention bureau have a responsibility to ensure that we capture the full potential of an international congress held in Copenhagen and help associations achieve their mission. Especially when we know that the congress taps into some of our city’s strongholds like, for example, life science. The creation of Copenhagen Life Science indeed strengthens our cross-sector collaboration through the partnership, and greatly adds to our ability to assist associations to connect with our destination and deliver a better congress for the benefit of society at large.” says Bettina Reventlow-Mourier, deputy director at Wonderful Copenhagen’s Convention Bureau.
Green and efficient meetings
Copenhagen’s focus on legacy is a natural extension of the city’s efforts to contribute to the realization of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including a strong focus on how to reduce its carbon emissions. The same efforts exist in the local meetings industry, where nearly all the city’s large venues and more than two-thirds of Copenhagen’s hotel rooms are eco-certified. There has also long been a strong focus on how to reduce food waste, just as the city’s infrastructure favors sustainable modes of transportation, be it a bike or public transport. All of which help to reduce the delegates’ carbon footprint while in Copenhagen.
In 2021, Copenhagen CVB launched its Copenhagen Sustainability Guide aimed at international associations and others planning their next congress in the city. The goal of the guide has been to offer a digital pre-planning tool that can help meeting planners reduce their events’ CO2 emissions and create social and lasting impact while contributing to the U.N.’s SDGs.
“For us to succeed with sustainable destination development, we need to inspire and motivate local businesses, partners and clients. The Copenhagen Sustainability Guide invites organizations, associations, corporates and planners to take real-life action, and thereby contribute to local and global sustainable development through facts and impact-driven decisions,” explains Kit Lykketoft, director of conventions at Wonderful Copenhagen.
The sustainability guide reflects Copenhagen’s commitment to providing the perfect setting for a congress by offering comprehensive support and state-of-the-art meeting facilities. Also here, collaboration is key as the city’s service providers work together to ensure a smooth process for the association.
“If you’re considering Copenhagen as a host city, the support structure is extraordinary.
“If you’re considering Copenhagen as a host city, the support structure is extraordinary. There’s help on hand from the first conception to beyond the final day, if necessary. Our facilities are second-to-none. Everything is always as agreed. But Copenhagen isn’t only full of science. It’s full of life,” says Teresa Krausmann, managing director of the conference organization CAP Partner.