European Robotics Forum 2023: Experience the future of robotics in Odense
5 min read

European Robotics Forum 2023: Experience the future of robotics in Odense

Experience the future of robotics technology when 900 scientists and industry leaders from 30 countries meet at Europe's largest robotics conference, ERF2023, on March 14-16, 2023 in Odense, Denmark.

How has the Danish city of Odense positioned itself as one of the world's leading robotics hubs, alongside Tokyo, Silicon Valley, and Boston, in just 10 years? And what will the future of collaborative robots, automation, and drones look like?

These questions and many more will be answered at the European Robotics Forum conference, which after 10 years in other European countries returns to a transformed Odense under the heading: Odense Revisited - how to transform a city into a robotics capital in 10 years.

The conference is hosted by euRobotics and The University of Southern Denmark’s Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Institute with Professor and host Christian Schlette at the forefront and among the guests are Greg Smith, CEO of the American automation company Teradyne. Schlette particularly highlights two reasons to attend the conference:

- You should visit the conference if you want to know how research and robotics technology will shape the industry and our daily lives in the coming 10 years. And you should come if you want to know how Odense became a global robotics hub in just 10 years, says Professor Christian Schlette from University of Southern Denmark (SDU).

ERF2023 takes place in Odense's music and conference center ODEON on March 14-16, 2023, where SDU hosts the event in cooperation with the Danish Technological Institute, Odense Robotics, Invest in Odense, Odense Municipality, and a number of the largest robotics companies in Denmark.

A bright future for the robot cluster

Denmark is home to some of the most successful robotics companies in the world, and one thing that is particularly noticed abroad is the speed at which new companies are established, the density in the cluster, and the ability to develop applications that can also be used outside of the manufacturing industry, says CEO of Odense Robotics, Mikkel Christoffersen:

- The reason why Odense today is in the same league as other global robot hotspots likeMunich, Silicon Valley, and Boston is precisely the ability to create successful startups. Odense has a unique ecosystem that helps startups innovate and grow - and the evidence is clearly seen in the city's world-leading companies and high concentration of innovative startups," he says.

- With so many strong startups born here in Odense, the future looks very promising for theDanish robotics industry.

The Danish robotics, drone, and automation industry employs approximately 15,000 people across a total of 418 companies.

Robotics and Sustainability

The European Robotics Forum is called a forum because it is more than just a conference or trade show as one might know from other industries. Robotics are fundamentally changing our society, and one of the most relevant areas where this is happening is, of course, with regards to sustainability, says Professor Christian Schlette:

- Robotics and artificial intelligence have the strength to fundamentally change our society forthe better, but it doesn't happen on its own. It is important that we become very concrete in terms of where we can achieve the greatest gains in sustainability with these technologies.

Christian Schlette provides a current example of how robotics can help drive the green transition forward:

- At SDU's Center for Large Structure Production (LSP), we work closely with local industrialcompanies in the former shipyard buildings on the harbor. Here, we are exploring how to speed up production for the green transition in the wind turbine industry, which today is highly dependent on manual labor.

Another area of research and great expectations is the drone area. Drones can, for example, service and inspect wind turbines, which today is very cumbersome. They can also transport medicine and tests between patients and hospitals, and they will be important for the future of agriculture and transportation.


European Robotics Forum (ERF) 2023:ERF 2023 is an internationally recognized European research conference on robotics technology that attracts leading researchers, industry leaders, and decision-makers from around the world. The conference focuses on the future of robotics technology, but in 2023, there is a special focus on Odense's development from Denmark's fifth-largest city to a robot capital on par with Munich, Silicon Valley, and Boston. It is Odense Municipality's declared goal to be the world's best robot city in 2023.

Odense Robotics - The National Robot Cluster: Great international robot successes such as Universal Robots, Mobile Industrial Robots, and OnRobot have grown out of the Danish robot cluster in collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). The cluster, supported by Odense Robotics, currently counts around 400 companies and employs more than 10,000 people - a high number considering the size of the Danish workforce and the speed at which it has been achieved.

Odense is known in the industry as the world's cobot capital or the capital of collaborative robots. Companies such as Universal Robots, Mobile Industrial Robots, and OnRobot, in collaboration with SDU, have focused on a special branch of the robot industry, where robots are built to work closely with people. These companies have evolved to be the backbone of the Danish robot cluster, and in 2023, the world's largest Cobotics Hub will open in Odense.

History of Odense Steel Shipyard: After a long and difficult process over many years, the renowned Odense Steel Shipyard at Lindø shut down in 2012, after decades of building the world's largest container ships for Maersk. This left Odense in a position similar to many other European cities that were historically shaped by heavy industry – and the city then initiated a restructuring of knowledge- and technology-driven companies.

The Lindø shipyard was already "high tech" with significant developments in robotics and digitalization, including the donation of the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute (MMMI) as part of the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) in 1997. The MMMI's mission was to support the shipyard's demanding operations with research in robotics technology and artificial intelligence, and the researchers involved in this lively exchange thus developed a closely interlinked network and a highly application-oriented mindset with a focus on industrial requirements and commercial viability.

euRobotics: euRobotics aisbl is a Brussels-based international non-profit association for all stakeholders in European robotics. It was founded in September 2012 and is celebrating 10 years of existence. The objectives of euRobotics are to boost European robotics research, development and innovation and to foster a positive perception of robotics. It aims to:

strengthen competitiveness and ensure industrial leadership of manufacturers, providers and end users of robotics technology-based systems and services; achieve the widest and best uptake of robotics technologies and services for professional and private use; promote the excellence of the science base of European robotics. Website:

ERF2023 video presentations: +

Read Odense Robotics’ Insight Report 2022.

The ERF2023 website:


Christian Schlette Professor, SDU +45 65 50 79 16

Mikkel Christoffersen CEO, Odense Robotics +45 30 12 06 97

Anders Vincent Kongeskov Head of PR, ERF2023 +45 25 70 20 19

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