The Danish Dairy Research Foundation

The Danish Dairy Research Foundation (DDRF) supports applied dairy research and initiates and coordinates basic research interacting closely with the dairy industry and e.g. universities, hospitals, and suppliers.

By: Grith Mortensen 

The projects are pre-competitive in nature and support research-based innovation at the dairies.

The Danish Dairy Research Foundation is a non-commercial foundation administered by the Danish Agriculture Food Council and the Danish Dairy Board.

Since the Foundation was established in 1990, the dairy sector, associated partners and other funding bodies have invested an amount totaling 1 billion DKK into research at the universities and university hospitals via the Danish Dairy Research Foundation.


The Danish Dairy Research Foundation annually initiates research projects supported by funding totaling about 12-14 million DKK. This is done partly via the foundation’s own funds and partly via applications submitted to the Milk Levy Fund and the Dairy Rationalization Fund.

A typical project will receive funding totaling 1-3 million DKK and generally run for 1-5-years. The Danish Dairy Research Foundation will finance up to 50%. The remainder must be provided by the applicant, from external, public or private grants, contributions from participating businesses, and/or research institutions.

The research initiatives of the Danish Dairy Research Foundation focus on three strategic core areas

The three strategic core areas are:

  • Health & nutrition
  • Food safety
  • Technology

Interdisciplinary research activities are carried out in collaboration between the Danish Dairy Research Foundation, universities, hospitals, Advanced Technology Groups, and to a great extent relevant dairy partners and other industries. We welcome international cooperation, and the Danish Dairy Research Foundation has a significant role in maintaining international network and collaboration relationships.

Current focus areas and selection criteria are reflected in the call for expressions of interest. In principle, it is of importance that the projects are high-level research projects, have clear objectives, and dairy relevance.

‘Strategy 2026 – A knowledge-based and sustainable dairy industry’ sets out the focus areas for the pre-competitive research to be carried out by the dairies towards 2026. If you want to know more about The Danish Dairy Research Foundation and details about the strategic core areas, then the strategy is a good starting point.

An important role in research-based training and education

In addition, the objective of supporting dairy research is to secure relevant, research-based training and education of future candidates, to include dairy engineers, and secure education of PhD’s and postdocs of relevance to the dairy industry.

The dairy industry feels convinced that a strong and dynamic dairy research environment nourishes strong candidate, PhD and postdoc programs, which also in the future will remain attractive to young people and secure the recruitment basis for the sector.


The board consists of 12 members and 1 observer from the dairy industry and the Danish universities.

The board establishes the strategic objectives of the foundation which is also reflected in the strategy and the annual call for expressions of interest.

The secretariat – in close cooperation with the researchers – facilitates effective implementation of the projects supported and ensures communication of results to the relevant stakeholders.

The board consists of:

– VP Research & Innovation Niels Østergaard, Arla Foods Ingredients (Chair)
– CEO Henrik Damholt Jørgensen, Danish Dairy Board
– Senior Executive R&D Advisor Henrik J. Andersen, Arla Foods amba
– Senior Innovation Manager Simon Metz Mariendal Pedersen, Arla Foods amba
– Former CEO Poul J. Pedersen, Thise Mejeri amba
– Operations Engineer Peter Staunsbæk, Mammen Mejerierne A/S
– Senior Site Director Klaus Jeppesen, Arla Foods amba
– Head of Department Charlotte Lauridsen, Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, Aarhus University
– Head of Department Anna Haldrup, Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen
– Professor Peter Ruhdal Jensen, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark
– Head of Department Lars Porskjær Christensen, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Southern Denmark
– Head of Department Birgit Nørrung, Department of Veterinary and Animal Science, University of Copenhagen


– Director - cattle production, Ida M. L. D. Storm, Danish Agriculture & Food Council