Megaproject mastermind moves from Oxford to ITU

Project managers’ must-read and megaproject master. The renowned scholar has many names. Soon Professor Bent Flyvbjerg will also have a Danish postcode again. A grant of DKK 30 million from VILLUM FONDEN has enabled the IT University of Copenhagen to recruit the leading international researcher.

Professor Bent Flyvbjerg is the world’s leading and most-cited researcher in the field of project and programme management, including management of IT projects. The Danish academic is now leaving his post as BT Professor and Chair of Major Programme Management at Oxford University to take up the role of Villum Kann Rasmussen Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen.

“A Villum Kann Rasmussen professorship is the best of the best in academia. It’s therefore with great humility and honour that I thank VILLUM FONDEN and the IT University for this unique opportunity to continue my research in Denmark,” says Professor Bent Flyvbjerg from Oxford.

Professorship for leading researchers

In 2012, VILLUM FONDEN established the first Villum Kann Rasmussen Professorship at the University of Copenhagen. In 2018 the foundation established the second professorship at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The aim of the professorships, styled on the British tradition of endowed chairs, is to attract leading scientists to Danish universities by offering them prestigious, permanent positions.

Read more about the Villum Kann Rasmussen Professorship

Research and social development

Flyvbjerg is world renowned for his research on project planning and management, where he has identified the unique anatomy of so-called megaprojects. By comparing plans to actual results, he has documented what he calls ‘The Iron Law of Megaprojects’: “Over time, over budget, under benefit, over and over again”. Statistically, it is rare for megaprojects to be completed on time and within budget. At Oxford University, Flyvbjerg and his team have developed the largest research-based database in the world on the performance of IT projects in order to test theories of risks in IT investments, where costs often wildly overrun budgets.

“Digitalisation in a broad sense is more important than ever, and almost all major projects today involve a central IT component. Professor Bent Flyvbjeg’s move from Oxford to ITU will strengthen Denmark’s position on the digitalisation front, as well as our understanding of the interplay between IT and large projects,” says VILLUM FONDEN’s Chair Jens Kann Rasmussen. 

Copenhagen as an international hub for IT programme management

With the grant from VILLUM FONDEN and VKR Professor Bent Flyvbjerg at the head, the ambition is to make Copenhagen a leading international centre for research into IT programme management. The goal is to contribute to leading research in the field and to more advanced and efficient digitalisation across sectors for the benefit of social development internationally and in Denmark.

“I’m proud to welcome Bent Flyvbjerg as Villum Kann Rasmussen Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen. With VILLUM FONDEN’s support we’ll work to create a platform for Flyvbjerg’s research, which for many years has been absolutely world class. Bent Flyvbjerg’s Villum Kann Rasmussen professorship at ITU is fully in line with our vision and mission to create value for society through internationally groundbreaking research and teaching. Flyvbjerg’s research in IT projects is an excellent example of interdisciplinary research that both provides fundamental insight and has great social significance,” says Martin Tvede Zachariasen, Vice Chancellor of the IT University.

Better use of resources

The purpose of the grant is to achieve social impact by educating researchers and graduates at ITU and by providing continuing training for decision-makers, managers and project managers in the public and private sectors. Through active participation in the public debate and representative positions, we’ll seek to have a positive influence on society’s use of resources when it comes to IT and digitalisation, based on the best available research, methods and empirical data.



Jari Kickbusch, Research Communicator at the IT University, tel. +45 2555 0447,

Anna Høxbro Bak
Communications Adviser, THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS
+45 22 64 03 55