Denmark has a well-developed and centralised research system, with a clear division between the research policy advisory function and the organisation of research funding and user support.
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The Danish research governance structure has been changed substantially during the last 15 years. The main current research governance system is divided into two subsystems: an advisory part with the Danish Council for Research Policy which was established in 2004 and the funding part with the Council for Independent Research and the Council for Strategic Research.
In 2012, Denmark’s gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) reached 2.99 percent of GDP (estimate from Eurostat, December 2013) after 2.98 percent in 2011, well above the average for the EU-27 of 2.06 percent, but significantly decreased since 2010. This decrease is mainly caused by lower business enterprise R&D expenditure (BERD) as a result of the global economic crisis. BERD which decreased from 1.96 percent of GDP in 2009 to 1.79 percent of GDP in 2012 (estimate from Eurostat, December 2013) after 1.79 percent in 2011. BERD contributed with about two thirds to GERD. The main public research performers are concentrated in the university system, performing 32 percent of the total R&D in 2012. There are eight universities: Copenhagen University, Aarhus University, the Technical University of Denmark, the University of Southern Denmark, Aalborg University, Roskilde University, Copenhagen Business School and the IT University. The universities are organised under their own stakeholder organisation, Universities Denmark.
The development of the European Research Area is a priority for the Danish research policy.