Published: January 19, 2016, Edited by: Nicolas Padfield

A new model for private-public partnership

Fablab RUC is a commercial-friendly Fablab, an experiment in a new private-public model. Bringing real world commercial projects in the door enhances academia, and the knowledge gained in academia enhances the private sector. We actively work with inviting private companies, startups, inventors, and non-university public sector endeavors into the university and the maker movement.


  • We don't care whether you are Maersk, Herlev Hospital, a paid private consultant, a student or a local resident inventor.
  • We don't care if you are a bank advisor paid and sent by your boss or a nurse in your free time.
  • We do care that you are making a prototype. It is about knowledge production and innovation. Mass production is not welcome - that belongs in the private sector.

A new model for private-public partnership

  • Make experiments easy. We know that if we place the candy by the cash register more people buy candy. But traditionally partnerships between public and private entities have started with lawyers and long contract negotiations. We try to make research easy. Come and talk to the lab leader and within five minutes you will have an answer: Yes you can build that here / yes you can build that here but you will have to bring your own materials / no you cannot do that here. If we make research easier, more research will be done.

  • All employees are part time and also have a private sector consultancy business and/or teaching in other fora. Some of the most interesting projects at the lab come in on employees' personal networks. When we were hiring, we noticed the most attractive, best qualified applicants already had flourishing consultancy or freelance or teaching work. Instead of demanding that they close their business or stop teaching at other acclaimed institutions to work at Fablab RUC full time, we embraced the cross-pollination, the symbiosis, the inspiration, the networking and actively chose to spread 4 full time positions over 5 people, making 4/5 time at the lab and 1/5 time in the private sector both the norm and the objective. Of course the best experts would already be in demand, we see this as a seal of approval and are following in the footsteps of renowned institutions like MIT in not only accepting, but encouraging employees with also private-sector success. Real world cases enrich our teaching and our students' experience. Bringing real world commercial projects in the door enhances academia, and the knowledge gained in academia enhances the private sector.

  • The lab is an open and equal access workshop. As soon as one has decided to make the lab facilities open for all it makes no sense to exclude only the best - superusers and professional users. The lab is open for everyone from students to local residents. It would be strange to say yes to the local resident who wants to learn to use a laser cutter by making a name sign for his dog house, but turn away a professional inventor who has a 3D printer, but needs access to a larger 3D printer for this particular project. This is not anti-competitive - we offer facilities to all, just like public libraries or the many publicly funded Fablabs or the Innovation counseling (OpfinderrÃ¥dgivningen) at Teknologisk Institut. Experienced professionals are just as welcome as freshman students - it is the mix that creates symbiosis and a special creative, innovative atmosphere.

  • Not religiously open source. We prefer that you publish your designs, but if you don't want to for commercial reasons, we are fine with you contributing to the community in another way. Write a howto guide or give us an extra hand clearing up.

  • Host/Incubator for Fablabbing events, networks, workshops etc. under diverse auspices. Our purpose is to offer and support access to modern digital production for all - so we are happy to host events under diverse auspices as much as we can. For example if you are a company that wants to hold a workshop for your innovation department, or a volunteer network teaching youths, we would like to be able to offer you to do it here - as long as we have time and capacity, it does not cause us direct costs, and it does not disrupt our university teaching which is primary. This will normally require you either know us and our machines or e.g. have a student or alumn on the team who does or hire e.g. a student assistant who does, so we know someone responsible and knowledgable is here to take care of the lab.