The Technical University of DenmarkBy Asian Correspondent Mar 21, 2013 4:29PM UTC
The Technical University of Denmark opened in the 1800s and places a strong emphasis on making connections between natural and technical sciences. The result is a vibrant, interdisciplinary spirit that values innovation over conformity. The university’s record in research and discovery is strong. In fact, five National Research Institutions merged with DTU in 2007, effectively expanding the university’s research capability and introducing a wealth of new funding contracts with the Danish government.
DTU President Anders Bjarklev is unambiguous about the university’s 21st-century goals. The school’s complex research strategy, he explains, has been designed to push DTU through the rankings to secure its place as a top-ten technical university in Europe. International students of engineering who enroll now are poised to ride this wave to preeminence and prestige.
This may be a technical university, but the research carried out at DTU is firmly rooted in solving human problems and crises. For example, chemists at DTU are currently working on methods of storing hydrogen more safely and effectively, thereby unlocking the potential of this promising but volatile element as an energy source. This is highly technical work, but it has a strong and nearly immediate payoff for human society.
Mechanical and electrical engineering are core research areas, with biotechnology positioned to play an increasingly important role in DTU’s research endeavors. All of the research conducted at DTU is backed by state-of-the-art facilities. The university has invested heavily in its infrastructure over the past few years, increasing interdisciplinary ties, boosting industry links and enabling the study of nanotechnology and other cutting-edge technology.
One of the university’s most important industry partners is Vestas, a leading wind turbine manufacturer. Denmark is a worldwide leader in wind power technology, and the university maintains impressive facilities (including a test center that can accommodate a 250-meter-tall wind turbine). Private companies are invited to bid on the opportunity to engage in collaborative research with DTU students and staff.
A special Scandinavian atmosphere
Cutting-edge facilities and 21st-century technology aside, one of the greatest draws to study engineering at DTU is less tangible. President Bjarklev describes the university’s “special Scandinavian atmosphere” as something that can’t be weighed, measured or ranked, and yet insists that it is one of the single-most attractive aspects of a DTU education. His comments follow:
“At DTU, students and teachers work more informally than at most other universities. Classes are never cancelled and serious study takes place in a relaxed and social atmosphere. Education is largely based on the students’ active participation and taking independent responsibility. Students learn to work individually and in groups. They also learn to ask questions, be innovative and to find and explore interrelationships. There is a refreshing lack of hierarchy at DTU. Professors go by their first name and are easily accessible to students. DTU has an open door policy, so if you need to talk to your professor, you just knock on their door, or send them an e-mail.”