Anniversary grant of 7,8 million DKK from VELUX FONDEN for humanities reseach

David Budtz Pedersen and Frederik Stjernfelt from the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University have received a grant of 7,8 million DKK on the VKR Group´s 75th anniversary for the new research project "Mapping the Public Value of Humanities". The project will ask among other things the following questions:

Which social value is created by the research knowledge of the Danish humanities, and how can the value best be documented?

Hans Kann Rasmussen, Chairman of VELUX FONDEN presented the anniversary grant at Borup High School on 12 September, where speeches were given and discussions were held with a number of researchers in humanities.

  • Agnete Gersing, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science
  • Göran Blomqvist, Director for The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Johnny Laursen, Dean at Aarhus University
  • Mikkel Bogh, director for The National Museum of Denmark 
  • Ulrik Haagerup, Executive Director of DR News
  • – moderator Adam Holm


The background for the research project

Both Danish and foreign universities increasingly face demands that their research will contribute to the solution of social problems concerning climate, health, growth and employment. This also applies to the humanities research. The challenge is however that the value and impact of research and education is primarily measured against commercialisation and the transfer of technology between universities and the industry. Thus often overlooking the wider social value of humanities. A new research project "Mapping the Public Value of Humanities" has just received a grant from VELUX FONDEN of 7.8 million DKK in connection with the 75th anniversary of the VKR Group. The project will examine how humanities research contribute to society, and how the impact of the research can be documented.

David Budtz Pedersen og Frederik Stjernfelt.

”Impact emerges in many parts of the research process from the individual researcher's impact on the partners; he or she has, over a discursive impact in terms of setting new agendas in society. Research has an effect when absorbed in society, e.g. through conferences, counseling, seminars, formal or informal cooperative relationships or when research is used through e.g. dissemination, practice development and new business models or as inspiration. We wish to describe the many dynamic and often unseen consequences of the humanities research. This may be in relation to creating behavioral changes, contributing to source material in the media, creating renewed understanding of the issues and conflicts or providing advice in connection with political decisions”, says Associate Professor David Budtz Pedersen. He and Professor Frederik Stjernfelt are heading the Humanomics Research Centre at the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University and they are also spearheading the current research project.

The full value of the humanities science

The inspiration for "Mapping the Public Value of Humanities" come from among others a number of international institutions which increasingly evaluate research impact based on parameters such as the cooperation with civil society, culture, businesses, colleges and educational institutions, political and administrative institutions as well as the researcher's contribution to the public debate. That this trend is now spreading to Denmark is no surprise to the chairman of VELUX FONDEN Hans Kann Rasmussen

“There is danger that what cannot be measured or weighed or is of no monetary value is of no value at all. However, we have no doubt that the humanities science is of crucial value to society, but it becomes more and more important to be able to concretise and exemplify the value ​​and make it more measurable. Therefore, we hope that our anniversary project can be a solid contribution to this work, thus making a valuable contribution to the debates and decisions in society” he says.

New knowledge about the humanities

In the long term, it is also the aim that the specific research can help to qualify the debate on research investments and priorities in Denmark.

 “A better overall picture of the value of the humanities research and a stronger historic and current understanding of the dissemination of knowledge from the humanities to society will bring a new understanding of the future role for the humanities. This can help to counteract the recurring tendency to underestimate the humanities. Our research will help to qualify the debate on humanities role in society through the study of the humanities history of science, the philosophy of science, the current research and training agendas as well as through the study of specific research products”, emphasizes Professor Frederik Stjernfelt.


Associate Professor David Budtz Pedersen, phone: +45 30 29 29 74 or

Professor Frederik Stjernfeldt, phone +45 31 68 91 88 or

Academic Officer Susanne H. Knudsen, phone: +45 29 60 98 72
or e-mail:

In 2016 we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the VKR Group. Read more about our history.