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SDU and Vejle Municipality in close collaboration on campus

More than 9,000 students are currently studying a degree programme in the Triangle Region. This number is set to increase with SDU and Vejle Municipality’s joint announcement of the establishment of SDU Vejle, a new campus offering IT, health and engineering programmes.

On 15 December 2021, SDU, Vejle Municipality and Dandy Business Park entered into a joint declaration of intent to establish SDU Vejle, thus supporting the Triangle Region’s need for well-educated graduates with degrees in IT, health and engineering.

SDU’s unique construction makes it the only Danish university with multiple campuses spread across a large geographical area. In fact, more than 20% of SDU’s students study at the campuses located in cities outside Odense. 

Covering the needs of the Triangle Region

Specifically in the Region of Southern Denmark, SDU has a strong presence with education campuses in Sønderborg, Esbjerg and Kolding. The University is now boosting this position by aiming to establish a new campus in Vejle, SDU Vejle, which will offer a range of courses of study within the IT, health and engineering areas.

Jens Ringsmose, Rector of SDU, emphasises that it is a significant priority for SDU to help meet the demand for engineers throughout the Triangle Region. With more than 37,000 jobs in the industry, it is Denmark’s strongest production centre, but growth is stagnating due to a lack of engineers. In fact, around 20 per cent of vacant engineering jobs in the Triangle Region remain unfilled. Similarly, it is also estimated that lack of skilled IT manpower is among the key impediments to growth.

Growth area and infrastructure

The Triangle Region is one of Denmark’s key industrial regions and a highly unique growth area with successful, innovative business environments and a strong infrastructure with motorways and Western Denmark’s international airport in Billund. As previously announced in a press release from SDU (https://www.sdu.dk/en/om_sdu/regionalisering/nyheder_regionalisering/it-uddannelser-i-vejle), the University wants to help support the dynamics in the entire Triangle Region and honour the companies’ need for highly educated graduates.

- Our primary focus has been on offering IT education programmes in Vejle, but based on a very positive dialogue with Vejle Municipality and Dandy Business Park, we now set the bar higher with a joint declaration of intent that in addition to IT programmes, we will also offer degree programmes in the fields of engineering and health, provided that it is financially sustainable, says Jens Ringsmose.

Physical presence

Fully phased in, the plan can lead to approx. 2,000 students being admitted to SDU Vejle. SDU’s ambition is that every year, approx. 500 candidates graduate with competencies that meet the Triangle Region’s labour market.

For Rector Jens Ringsmose, the fact that the plan involves establishing physical education and research environments is a point in its own right.

- Research-based education takes place in close interaction between students, competent researchers and lecturers. It is absolutely crucial to strive for the highest academic level in our education programmes, while at the same time ensuring our students feel they are part of a vibrant, engaging and innovative learning and study environment. This is how we aspire to run the University, and this also applies in relation to our activities in the Triangle Region and Vejle.

Significant investments

SDU Campus Vejle is intended to be located in Dandy Business Park Vejle to ensure optimal interaction with the 200 companies and 1,000 highly educated employees who are already housed there, as well as with the many other companies within green transition, food and IT that operate in the Business Park.

Jens Ringsmose emphasises that significant investments are required to realise the plans for SDU Vejle, both in terms of facilities and the construction of scientific environments.

- The declaration of intent that has now been entered into implies that SDU, Vejle Municipality and Dandy Business Park have committed each other to work together to provide the necessary financial resources. If our ambitions are realised, the entire Triangle Region will profit from them.

Great joy in Vejle 

- In Vejle Municipality, we are extremely pleased with this ambitious agreement with the University of Southern Denmark and Dandy Business Park to establish a campus in Vejle. The business community in the Triangle Region is in great need of skills necessary for the green and digital transitions, which we will gain by having new IT specialists and engineers educated at SDU Vejle. Vejle City Council has long sought to attract new educations, and we look forward to hopefully soon be able to welcome the University of Southern Denmark in Vejle, says Jens Ejner Christensen, Mayor of Vejle Municipality.

He is backed by Jørgen Andersen, Director of Dandy Business Park: 

- We are delighted that we – together with SDU and Vejle Municipality – can establish a university here in Dandy Business Park. We offer an innovative and unique educational environment, where students are offered a natural and close collaboration with our 200 companies, 1,000 knowledge employees, 1,500 member companies, the Park’s three ecosystems within green tech, food, artificial intelligence/digitalisation and access to all of the Business Park’s live labs and networks. This means that the young people will be enjoying a practical approach to their studies, which is a great strength when they enter the labour market upon graduating.

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Editing was completed: 15.12.2021