The Annual Commemoration 2017 in the Ceremonial Hall at Frue Plads, City Campus. Photo: Christoffer Regild


A decade has passed since the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) launched its first overall strategy. Since then, the University has moved forward and the results achieved over that period have been excellent. UCPH is one of the universities in Europe that has the greatest academic breadth, research depth and range of degree programmes on offer. We are among the best universities in the world; and we can and want to do even better.

In our first strategy, we focused, among other things, on developing the University’s excellent basic research, which forms the foundation for all our activities. We strengthened our international position and made the University an attractive place to work and study for staff and students from all over the world. Developing our research-based programmes and infrastructure was the central theme in the second strategy, where we increased teaching intensity and enhanced the physical study environment.

In this new and third strategy, which runs until 2023, we will focus on better cohesion between research and education, between subject areas and in the administrative processes. Equally important is the collaboration between the University and society, for example between education and practice and between research and employers. The foundation lies in strong academic environments. Therefore, we aim to leverage the University of Copenhagen’s academic breadth and strong international position to forge even closer relations with stakeholders and to attract knowledge and talent to Denmark – for the benefit of society both nationally and globally. In the coming years, focus will be on talent and better quality.


Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen
Chairman of the Board

Henrik C. Wegener


The University of Copenhagen is a knowledge and culture-bearing institution, which, based on independent research and research-based education at the highest level, provides a framework for critical thinking, insights and a quest for truth for the benefit of society.


The University of Copenhagen aims to be among the world's best universities measured by the quality of research and education and to be recognised for excellence and intellectual creativity.


A historically good platform for the future

The University of Copenhagen is a key knowledge and culture-bearing institution. Through independent and curiosity-driven research, our researchers and students expand horizons with new knowledge and contribute to influencing societal trends. That is how it has been since 1479. The University of Copenhagen is not only Denmark's oldest university, but also one of the first universities in Northern Europe.

At the core of the University is its excellent research. Conducting research at the highest international level is essential to attract, develop and retain talent. And it is a prerequisite for ensuring a sound and stable financial framework that allows the University to fulfil its national obligation to deliver education of the highest quality.

UCPH is more internationally oriented than ever while still being anchored in values such as democracy, equality and transparency. With a modern infrastructure, located in the heart of Copenhagen, through interaction with key stakeholders in society, public and private alike, and with research and education at the highest international level, the University of Copenhagen is well equipped to create value for society. One of the University's most important tasks is to bring knowledge and new insight to bear to the advantage of society and of the world, whose complex issues constantly inspire and challenge us. The University has a responsibility to ensure the development of free and independent research and a responsibility towards society's need for solutions and development.

On the basis of its strong research communities, the University aims to utilise its academic resources to contribute to solving the challenges faced by Denmark, Europe and the rest of the world. An interdisciplinary approach will contribute to ensuring excellent frontline research and to providing graduates with qualifications that reflect the needs of the future.


The world is changing. This means that what society expects of the University of Copenhagen is changing. Globally, we are seeing increased mobility, changing demographics and economic growth in regions outside of Europe.

There is a need to address a range of global challenges in areas such as climate, water, energy, health, migration, fake information and security. Growing digitalisation, increasing internationalisation and the introduction of new technologies all affect markets, regulation and public expenditure, including on research and education.

There will be increased competition for research grants, due, among other factors, to added pressure on the welfare state and the growing demand for measurable value for money, political control and administrative governance.

High-quality education

The University of Copenhagen offers research-based programmes that give students solid core competences and ensure a high-quality academic formation, both of which form the foundation for development and lifelong learning. This constitutes the University's most essential contribution to society. Broadly speaking, our job is to produce talented graduates for the job markets both in Denmark and globally. However, not everyone who studies should necessarily become a researcher. The University therefore has a special duty to ensure that graduates have academic insight as well as interdisciplinary skills. The job market is increasingly seeking graduates who possess solid academic skills, an understanding of practice and the ability to collaborate across fields.

Access to the global knowledge market

We aim to be among the best in the world for the benefit of society at large, and this requires continued focus on attracting and retaining the best academic staff. Discoveries that profoundly change the world are unpredictable and are made by researchers who are able to identify, investigate and comprehend subject matter that no one before has ever even contemplated. These kinds of researchers are rare, and the international competition to spot, attract and retain such talents is considerable.

The University’s position as an internationally recognised elite university affirms Denmark as a modern knowledge society. Attracting both budding and more established talents to Denmark is a vital task for the University: it is our ticket to the global knowledge market. 

UCPH’s strengths

  • Research beacons with world-class academic staff
  • Success in winning prestigious research grants
  • Modern, attractive and international learning environments and research infrastructure
  • Large number of applicants for the University’s highly esteemed degree programmes
  • Talented academic and technical/administrative staff, skilled in developing and supporting research and education

UCPH’s key development potential

  • Continuing to develop an excellent, international work and study environment in order to attract and retain the best academic staff
  • Fostering closer ties between education and both research and the job market
  • Leveraging the University’s academic breadth more effectively through both internal and external collaboration in order to help resolve societal challenges
  • Developing a digital organisation and strengthening the digital skills of staff and students
  • Working towards a common goal and promoting a profile, which will better position UCPH internationally

Committed staff and students at the heart of what we do

In order to realise our vision, we must provide an excellent workplace for staff and an inspiring study and learning environment for students. This requires involving both staff and students in the major decision-making processes. All staff members are important in creating the best academic environment to ensure that intellectual creativity and talent can flourish. 

Four focus areas

A six-year strategy cannot cover everything but must focus on specific areas where the need for change and development is greatest.

We will therefore put particular focus on: