A winter academy for high level professionals, the annual Transport Summit, and a Start-Up initiative for students – Denmark’s Technical University (DTU) has many things going for them in the buzzing field of smart mobility. DTU’s wide array of activities is inspiring and we are happy to call them ERTICO Partner since July 2018. The research sector is a very important one when it comes to advancing innovation and a needed foundation to push European projects forward.

Sophie Henkel (ERTICO) sat down together with Bahar Namaki Araghi, Head of Smart Mobility Center at DTU  to discuss DTU’s vision, its two-fold approach of educating students and high level professionals, and the paradigm shift in transport engineering study programmes.

Read below why DTU joined the ERTICO Partnership or listen to it here:

We are excited about having DTU on board the ERTICO Partnership! Why don’t you tell us about the motivation behind DTU’s decision to join ERTICO?

DTU is recognized as an elite technical university, assessed according to the highest international standards, with the traditions of Danish engineering as the foundation for its activities. As such, and through its collaboration with private and public sector stakeholders, DTU acts as a driving force for welfare and sustainable value creation in Danish society, and consistently takes on the same role in an international context.  DTU’s vision involves taking on responsibility for supporting sustainability as a national capability, while recognizing that it can only fulfill its mission in a globalized competitive world by being of the same calibre as leading international technical universities. DTU is recognized and respected globally as a leading elite technical university because of the quality of its research, its graduates, its values, and its university culture. DTU’s goal is to be among the five leading technical universities in Europe.

To support achieving this, DTU found it of great advantage to join a multi-sectoral, multi-national organisation such as ERTICO. This collaborative platform is proven as a win-win setup for Partners in various layers of industry, public sector and research entities. ERTICO’s leading role for opening up the discussions on new trends, challenges and opportunities and close collaboration with the European Commission is indeed a great channel to influence the future decisions with regards to research and developments.

DTU is known for fostering entrepreneurship and innovation. Can you tell us more about the DTU start-up hub? What does DTU hope to achieve with it?

Photo credit: DTU

The DTU Skylab is the innovation hub that offers collaboration opportunities for DTU students and external companies on innovation projects. We focus on enabling student innovation and entrepreneurship through our three focus areas; student innovation, company collaboration and academia. It is important to us to welcome all DTU students and affiliated students, therefore student innovation includes everything from smaller student projects, case solving on courses and student start-ups. DTU’s research strives to lay the foundations for a unique education culture and new ways of learning, an innovation culture that fosters and promotes entrepreneurship, spin-outs and corporate innovation, and—on the basis of academic freedom and scientific independence—deliver and develop advisory services and decision-support systems for the benefit of national and international authorities, private organizations and enterprises.

The DTU Skylab values diversity, interdisciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration, and this is why we work closely together with both domestic and international partners to knowledge share and strengthen the network by sending both employees and students out to expand the current network and bring back significant new findings. We call it house of innovation for students and employees with prototype workshops, laboratories and events. It is a very inspirational place to meet, a place where you see hands-on innovation happening.

Listen to Bahar explaining the concept behind the Skylab here:


Can you tell us more about the winter academy programme? What it is for? How does it work in practical terms?

The DTU Winter Academy takes a novel approach to identifying the essential questions for the future of innovation & technologies. More than 15 modules are spread over 5 days. Each module presents cutting-edge research for a business mind-set, giving you the necessary knowledge to make better decisions about your company’s future in relation to LEADERSHIP, SUSTAINABILITY, INNOVATION, and TECHNOLOGY. With this activity, we want to reach out to high level professionals, helping them to improve their knowledge and skills in niche fields.

We have gathered top-notch faculty from DTU, industry and other relevant stakeholders, each with a compelling story to share in a collection of short modules. Each presenter will distill the key findings from their field, revealing myths, presenting facts, and explaining a range of business models & applications. These findings, in combination with facilitated workshops that leverage the experience of your peers, will allow you to build a first draft solution to your current challenges. This combination of theory, practice and network is Action Learning at its best.

What are DTU most popular programmes? How you think they can support the development of smart mobility?

One of the most popular programmes related to smart mobility research, with more than 5oo participants from across the transportation sector, is our annual Transport Summit. It connects discussions and presentations with look-and-feel experiences, where the solutions of tomorrow become concrete and present.

DTU organizes the fourth edition of the Transport Summit on 4th of June 2019.  The overall theme of next year’s Transport Summit is Smart. Safe & Sustainable. We will have twelve sessions during the day focusing on urban infrastructure, positioning technologies, smart cities, active modes of transport, automated last mile transportation and others.

The summit of 2018 was a great success and we have the goal of reaching out to even more people in 2019.

How do you think you and the education bodies can attract more young professionals/students to apply for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)?

Technology is increasingly becoming hip in the new generation. DTU is providing a lot of investment to creating this knowledge as it is very much in demand. Attracting students for engineering degrees is highly prioritised at DTU. Every year we organise a fair that showcases newest technologies, for example in robotics, the mechanics industry etc. to which we invite schools. DTU also offers exchange programs and collaboration opportunities abroad, especially for PhD students. Transport is not just traffic engineering anymore. Internet of Things (IoT) and communication are very much intertwined in the engineering programmes nowadays. For this reason, we now design courses that follow a more multi-disciplinary approach. At DTU we create transport engineers for the future.


Photo credit: DTU

Bahar Namaki Araghi
Head of Smart Mobility Center








Interview and article by Sophie Henkel, ERTICO – ITS Europe