Ceremony / opening

Stanford University opens a new research unit in Herning

Stanford University has just opened its new Stanford Peace Innovation Lab at Aarhus University’s department in Herning. The two universities have collaborated on the establishment of a new laboratory, which will form the basis for joint research projects in the future. The collaboration between AU Herning and Stanford University opens new doors both to the Danish business community and to the department, which will be given access to conducting research on the highest level.

[Translate to English:] Helge Sander, formand for Eksternt Råd på AU Herning, afslører det nye Stanford-skilt ved AU Hernings hovedindgang. Fra venstre ses institutleder Jacob Kjær Eskildsen, professor Peter Lindgren og de to co-directors Mark Nelson og Margarita Quihuis fra Stanford Peace Innovation Lab (foto: Maria Randima Sørensen).
[Translate to English:] Her ses professor Peter Lindgren, der holder åbningstale for de 100 fremmødte gæster (foto: Maria Randima Sørensen)
[Translate to English:] Mark Nelson, co-director, Stanford Peace Innovation Lab, holder her åbningstale på Stanfords vegne (foto: Maria Randima Sørensen)
[Translate to English:] Peter Lindgren giver ordet til Helge Sander, der holder tale før afsløringen af det officielle skilt ved hovedindgangen (foto: Maria Randima Sørensen)
[Translate to English:] Stanford-skiltet ved AU Hernings hovedindgang symboliserer det nye samarbejde mellem underversiteterne (foto: Maria Randima Sørensen)

The newly established partnership between Stanford University and Aarhus University, School of Business and Social Sciences' department in Herning (AU Herning) will benefit all parties involved. Having a research unit based at AU Herning means that the researchers from Stanford will have new and unique opportunities for collaborating with Danish researchers and companies, and their presence here will also greatly benefit the Danish business community, the students and researchers.

“Stanford University has chosen to cooperate with AU Herning specifically because we have managed to establish a productive research environment focusing on business modelling and energy technologies.  These are areas which Stanford University are seeking to improve on. And so, there’s a lot of pressure on the researchers and students at AU Herning to perform well and deliver strong results from now on”, explains Peter Lindgren, who is professor at AU Herning and the primary driving force behind the Stanford unit in Herning. He adds:

“To researchers from Stanford, Denmark is a very interesting place to conduct research, precisely because the challenges we are faced with in terms of innovation and peace are very different from other countries. We have many valuable examples of how to establish peace and bring about innovation, and other countries and researchers are keen to learn from us and be inspired. The Stanford researchers will be able to use our experiences and research, and in turn we will be able to draw on their methods and approaches to research and innovation towards developing new and interesting solutions and business models built around the concept of peace”.

Part of a global network

There are currently 14 existing Stanford laboratories around the world, which focus on conflict management on various levels; for instance, conflicts between peoples or countries. Denmark is a good example of a peaceful country that is not in conflict with any other countries, and this makes us interesting. 

The collaboration between Stanford and AU Herning will enable students and researchers from the US and Denmark to conduct research together, and the students at AU Herning will get easier access to taking courses at Stanford University. This means that students and employees at AU Herning, as well as the Danish business community in general, are given unique opportunities.

The new research unit will be focusing on various fields of research, not least behavioural research. Stanford University conducts world class research on how to change people’s behaviour, but they are also strong in areas pertaining to big data and business intelligence, and those fields may also come into play as part of the research projects conducted at the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab in Herning.

Focus on behavioural research

Behavioural research can be applied in numerous contexts, and this is one of the things that the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab will be working towards. For instance, behavioural research may be used in solving challenges related to urban violence – i.e. the problems caused when a lot of people gravitate towards the major cities. This leads to crowded cities and congested traffic, which may cause people to become less tolerant of each other.

Behavioural research can also be used to solve energy challenges, for instance towards influencing companies to make more sustainable choices and reducing their energy consumption. And within the area of healthcare, it is relevant to investigate how people’s behaviour may be changed towards making healthier choices, which in turn will prevent them from having to be admitted to the hospital. The agreement with Stanford implies that AU Herning must contribute to establishing research projects across Europe and the US.

“With this collaboration, we are given access to major American research projects and foundations that provide staggering amounts in research grants – and we are still pinching ourselves to see if we are dreaming. We are very excited about getting this collaborative work started, and in fact we already have several projects in the pipeline,” concludes Peter Lindgren.