Hjem / English, old / The GTS System

The GTS System

The seven Danish government-approved technology institutes (godkendte teknologiske serviceinstitutter) – the GTS institutes – play a key role in the Danish innovation system as the link between technology and business. The institutes seek to make new technological methods applicable to businesses and promote businesses’ uptake of new technology.

Elevating innovation

The society hinges on the ability of the business sector to innovate through new knowledge and technology. If companies stagnate, they will sooner or later be surpassed by competitors, resulting in a loss of valuable jobs.

Engaging in technological innovation requires access to new knowledge. It also requires access to laboratories, equipment for prototype development, and testing product quality, among other resources. Few companies can establish these competencies independently, which risks hindering their progress.

Therefore, society has an interest in ensuring that companies have alternative access to research- and innovation-environments enabling the testing of new innovative ideas. One of the central initiatives to achieve this is through the seven GTS institutes. The purpose of GTS is to foster technological shared economies, enabling innovation without necessitating that companies possess all the essential capabilities.

For the GTS institutes, it’s about unlocking potential. The focus is therefore on eliminating market failures that might otherwise discourage companies from engaging in innovation. This goal is attained through the development of tailored solutions for businesses in areas where the market doesn’t address the task due to being either too costly or too risky.

GTS is an initiative under the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. Its purpose is to create favourable conditions enabling businesses and society to leverage research and technological advancements for sustained competitiveness.

The illustration above is a simplified representation of how the GTS institutes operate in the critical area between national basic research and commercialisation, bridging the gap between research and businesses. This bridging role works in both directions, as the knowledge needs of businesses are translated into research questions. Drawing on their technological insight and their knowledge of the market, the GTS institutes accelerate work with innovation, pave the way for better products and processes, and strengthen the overall competitiveness of Danish businesses.

To support the maintenance and especially the renewal of the GTS infrastructure, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science invest more than € 40 million annually in the institutes’ development of technological knowledge. This investment takes the form of performance contract activities which allow the institutes to develop new technological services ahead of market demand and in areas where the market itself cannot or does not meet the need.

Similar systems in most European countries

Most European countries have a system, similar to the GTS institutes, in place. Counterparts include Fraunhofer in Germany, TNO in the Netherlands and RISE in Sweden. Thus the GTS institutes form part of a European tradition whereby technology institutes act as a bridge between research and business. In the European context, these systems are designated research and technology organisations (RTOs).

A large proportion of European RTOs are, like the Danish GTS institutes, members of EARTO (the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations).

Not-for-profit organisations

The Danish GTS institutes are not-for-profit organisations. They are self-owned, impartial, and independent of business or political interests, placing knowledge and facilities at the disposal of all businesses on equal terms. All profits are reinvested in infrastructure, facilities and the creation of new technological knowledge. Approval by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science is necessary to be designated as a GTS institute.

The GTS institutes cover an exceptionally wide range of sectors, including:

  • Digitalisation
  • Production and robot technology
  • Food and agriculture
  • Materials technology
  • Electronics and micro-electronics
  • Ship-building and construction
  • Water and environment
  • Biomedicine
  • Security
  • Welfare technology.

The seven GTS institutes range in size and also vary in the scope of their international focus, with some institutes focusing primarily on disseminating new knowledge and technology within Denmark, while others are very international in their service offerings and market orientation.

Read more about the GTS institutes


More information? Contact:

Ragnar Heldt NielsenDirector in the GTS Association

Tlf: 45 16 26 26Mail: rhn@gts-net.dk

Read more about:The GTS Institutes