BioWorld International Correspondent

The Danish Government is proposing the establishment of a DKK16 billion (US$2.7 billion) foundation that would fund basic and applied research in biotechnology, nanotechnology and information technology.

Funding for the initiative would come from taxes on North Sea oil revenues, which would reach the DKK16 billion target by around 2010. The proposed foundation would allocate the interest derived from its capital holdings - approximately DKK800 million based on current rates - to the country's leading researchers and companies.

"The government has proposed to use this as a step toward Denmark becoming a high-tech country," Jens Peter Jacobsen, director of the science, innovation and education division of Denmark's Ministry for Science, Innovation and Technology, told BioWorld International.

So far, however, the plan is just a plan. Political negotiations are now underway, but Jacobsen was unable to say when they are likely to be completed.

The plan has been welcomed by the Copenhagen-based Danish Association of Biotechnology Industries. "We are, of course, very positive toward this initiative," spokesman Peter Frank told BioWorld International. "If it's done correctly, it's a substantial part of the way toward meeting [the target set by] the Lisbon declaration."

The latter is a European Union objective for all member states to increase publicly funded research to 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2010. At present, Denmark spends around DKK9.5 billion on public research, which represents around 0.7 percent of GDP.