DTU Skylab’s innovation and learning hub is so successful that they are expanding their capacity by 3,000 square meters.
In 2013, DTU Skylab piloted an innovation house. Their mission was to test whether the infrastructure could support technology-based startups from the technical university and foster an entrepreneurial mindset among the students. In just 6 years, it has become a staple with not only students and researchers who want to use their knowledge in a startup capacity, but also established companies that want to be part of the innovative ecosystem.
According to Mikkel Sørensen, the head of DTU Skylab: “When we established Skylab in 2013 things moved so fast that the number of startups exploded. We began with 10 startups from DTU students, and last year alone we added another 52 startups. We want to continue helping them by expanding.”
Fostering an environment that helps startups to innovate and that teaches teams to become better engineers is the cornerstone of their success. Thanks to a donation of 80 million DKK from the Den A.P. Møllerske support fund, combined with DTU’s contribution of 19 million, the hub will grow by 3,000 square meters over the next year.
More of the same
Sørensen insists that the additional space must be added to the existing infrastructure: “We don’t want to build a parallel Skylab somewhere else. We believe in the synergies that occur when entrepreneurs, researchers, professional business people, and students are together under one roof. Therefore, the new addition is being added to the existing Skylab.”
With the extention, the large box that is DTU Skylab will see the addition of 3 new boxes, accommodating a wider base in the future. The extension will include a ‘developer hall,’ where projects can be tested, and where workshops and labs can be set up (e.g., a biological lab and a larger 3D print lab). A new auditorium will accommodate 200 people for major events and courses. For day-to-day operations, there will be an expanded co-working space for offices and projects. And, finally, there will be a café in the new building to cater to the needs of those working within the space.
As Sørensen notes: “The cafe is an open place where people can meet. We believe that the key to a successful innovation and learning environment is the people and the culture. The 3D printer is also important, but it is ultimately about people. They have to dare to think big and talk about mistakes with each other, which is why it is important to have a place where you can intersect with people who you would not have otherwise met.”
The extension is already under construction and is expected to be completed by August, 2020.