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DKK 100 million for robotics research at the University of Southern Denmark from the A.P. Møller Foundation

SDU’s successful efforts in robotic systems were further supported by a donation of DKK 100 million, which will be used to construct a new building for students and researchers.

The A.P. Møller Foundation has donated DKK 100 million to robotics research at SDU. The money will be used to expand the current facilities with a state-of-the-art building, which is expected to be ready in 2022.

“We are very grateful for the donation, which will significantly strengthen our research in robotics. The field of robotics is already at the highest international level, and the university will be able to use this major donation to construct a new building for the area, which means we will have an optimal framework for further development of research, innovation and the educational environment in the field of robotics. The building will benefit our students, researchers and ultimately the business community,” says Niels Thorborg, Chair of the Board for SDU.

Remarkable results

He also pointed out that the donation goes well with the investment of over DKK 100 million that SDU allocated to building an advanced laboratory environment to support research, education and collaboration with the business community in the spring of 2018.

“The Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Institute has proved its worth and, after a slow start, has achieved remarkable results, which support an interesting business development on Funen. Interest from students is high and on the rise, and the recruitment of researchers and university teachers is also going well. So there’s a lot to be happy about,” says Henrik Tvarnø, Director of the A.P. Møller Foundation.

Mærsk was on board from the start

The robotics adventure at SDU started back in the 1980s when A.P. Møller-Mærsk, via Lindø Værftet (Lindø Shipyard) and what was then Odense University, started a cooperation to develop modern production technology for the shipyard.

This was the starting point for founding the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Institute at what was then Odense University for research and education in robotic systems. The institute later played an increasingly important role in the development of robotic systems in Denmark and Danish exports of robotic equipment. With the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Institute at the centre, the robotics cluster on Funen is recognised as the strongest robotics cluster in Northern Europe and consists of about 120 companies, several of which have been traded for billions.

In addition to being a success for the business community and labour market, the institute has also been a success for research and education at the university. Today, the institute is an international leader in robotic systems, in addition to having developed strong research and educational environments in the fields of drone technology, health informatics and energy informatics.

Robot cluster is growing

The Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Institute is currently anchored in the Maersk building, which was completed in 1999 following a donation from the A.P. Møller Foundation. The success of the robotics cluster and the institute has meant that the institute’s research and education has grown far beyond the building's existing framework and some students and employees are now located in temporary buildings - the goal of expanding the institute has thus been on the wish list for a long time.

This wish has now come true with the fund’s donation of DKK 100 million for a new building.

Further information about the building can be obtained by calling Tom Møenbo Gregersen, the Area Manager for Plan & Byg at SDU, on mobile: +45 60 45 18 07 or by e-mailing him at

Read more about SDU’s work on an advanced laboratory environment, Industry 4.0 Digital Autonomous Production

Editing was completed: 04.03.2019