The Danish funding landscape is characterised by a few large public foundations, a handful of major private foundations with a broad funding strategy, and a myriad of small private foundations with more specific funding strategies.
Early Career Researchers – talent grants and fellowships
Independent Research Fund Denmark – Sapere Aude. A DFF Starting Grant provides excellent younger researchers with the opportunity to develop and strengthen their research ideas. It also aims to promote both national and international mobility between research environments and thereby to strengthen networks and careers. Starting Grants target top researchers who intend to bring together a team of researchers and/or research students to conduct a research project at a high, international level.
Villum Foundation - Young Investigators. The purpose of the VILLUM Young Investigator Programme is to fund especially talented up-and-coming researchers in science and technology with ambitions of creating their own, independent research identity. The grant amount is DKK 7-10 million, it can be awarded once only, and the timeframe is five years.
Novo Nordisk Foundation Hallas-Møller Emerging Investigator – Bioscience and Basic Biomedicine. The purpose of the Hallas-Møller Emerging Investigator grant is to support and strengthen the development of young and promising research leaders, and promote Danish fundamental research at a high international level, the Novo Nordisk Foundation seeks to support the starting group leaders with ambitious projects relevant to understanding the human organism and/or basal mechanisms underlying health and disease.
Lundbeck Foundation – Postdoctoral fellowships. The Lundbeck Foundation awards postdoctoral fellowships for free and independent biomedical and health science research of the highest standard at Danish research institutions. The foundation uses the term ‘biomedical and health science’ in its broadest sense, since it supports many adjacent fields of research that traditionally belong to other classical faculties (particularly to natural science and technical science) but that, to an increasing extent, help to steer the field of biomedicine towards new breakthroughs in knowledge and treatment.
Lundbeck Foundation - Lundbeck Fellows. The Lundbeck Fellowships are granted to outstanding and promising young researchers who are establishing or expanding their own research groups at Danish research institutions. The fellowships are intended for researchers who have received their PhD degree within the last four to eight years. The application should concern biomedicine or science with a clear biomedical perspective. Fellowships are awarded for five years and each fellowship amounts to DKK 10 million.
Funding options for the experienced researcher
Danish National Research Foundation – Centers of Excellence. A Center of Excellence (CoE) grant is large and flexible (existing grants range from DKK 50 to 111 million) and enables researchers to establish research centres that can exist for up to 10 years. Only top researchers with the most ambitious ideas will be awarded a CoE grant through a fiercely competitive two-stage application process. The objective of the CoE programme is to strengthen Danish research by providing the best possible working conditions and organisational set-up for selected top researchers. Centres may be established within or across all fields of research.
Independent Research Fund Denmark - Research Project. This grant of up to DKK 2 million (excluding overheads) is for research projects across all fields of research. A DFF-Research Project 1 requires a clear and well-defined research question and research activities are expected to be of a high, international standard. The DFF-Research Project 1 is typically funded for 3 years, but it is possible to apply for a 4-year project, if a PhD student is involved in the project.
Independent Research Fund Denmark - Research Project 2. This grant of between DKK 2 and 4.3 million (excluding overheads) is for research projects across all fields of research conducted by multiple researchers (including post-doctoral scholars and PhD students). The grant duration is up to 4.5 years. A DFF–Research Project 2 typically requires a coordinated and mutually binding collaboration featuring a well-defined, joint research question. However, the research question may also be set by a single researcher and carried out in a research team provided the research objective cannot be obtained through a DFF–Research Project 1.
Innovation Fund Denmark – Grand Solutions. Innovation Fund Denmark (IFD) invests in the best research and innovation projects with the potential to create knowledge, growth and employment in Denmark. IFD focuses on results and solutions that create value for society. With Grand Solutions, IFD wishes to facilitate cross-investments in knowledge institutions and companies – private as well as public. The investments should address tangible challenges and innovation needs of both companies and society.
Novo Nordisk Foundation Young Investigator Awards. This award is given to outstanding younger scientists to come to Denmark and expand their groundbreaking research programmes. It provides funding to enable independent early- to mid-career researchers to conduct larger and more ambitious studies. The award supports exceptional scientists working within any area of biomedical and/or biotechnological sciences. The applicant must be a principal investigator with an independent research group that he/she has directed for fewer than 7 years in total. It awards up to DKK 25 million for a period of 7 years.
Novo Nordisk Hallas-Møller Ascending Investigator. The purpose of the grant is to stimulate the continued development of excellent research leaders and promote Danish fundamental research at a high international level. NFF seeks to support the consolidation of accomplished associate professors with ambitious projects relevant to understanding the human organism and/or basal mechanisms underlying health and disease. The applicant should have a PhD plus approximately 7-15 years of subsequent research experience. Up to DKK 10 million can be awarded
Novo Nordisk Foundation Distinguished Investigator – Bioscience and Basic Biomedicine. This programme seeks to promote Danish fundamental research at the highest international level the Novo Nordisk Foundation by supporting outstanding professors with ambitious projects relevant to understanding the human organism and/or basal mechanisms underlying health and disease. The Distinguished Investigator grant is for professors of all ages. Up to DKK 10 million can be awarded.
Novo Nordisk Challenge programme . With the Challenge Programme, the Novo Nordisk Foundation wishes to contribute to the development and strengthening of the Danish research environment within biomedicine and biotechnology. The Challenge Programme focuses on in-depth research on specific challenges within annually selected research themes. Grants of up to DKK 10 million per year can be awarded for 6 years (total budget of up to DKK 60 million).
Novo Nordisk project grants. The Novo Nordisk Foundation awards project grants within endocrinology and metabolism, nursing, biotechnology-based synthesis and production, bioscience, and basic and clinical medical research. The grants of between DKK 300,000 and DKK 1,000,000 per budget year are awarded for 1-, 2- and 3-year projects.
NNF Laureate Research Grants. The purpose of this grant is to support outstanding established scientists to come to Denmark to strengthen their groundbreaking research programmes. This grant provides funding for research leaders to conduct large and long-term projects with transformative potential. The NNF seeks to support exceptional scientists working within any area of biomedical and/or biotechnological sciences. Grants of up to DKK 50 million are awarded for a period of 7 years. After 5 years of research supported by the NNF Laureate Research Grant, the grant holder may apply for one extension period of up to 7 years. Extension period funding may be up to DKK 5 million per year, with a limit of DKK 35 million in total.
Velux Foundation – The core-group programme. Every year, the core-group programme funds research in the humanities and allied social science disciplines. A core group is a closely collaborating research team that typically consists of 1–2 tenured senior investigators as project managers and 2-3 postdoctoral scholars and/or PhD students. A core group may consist of researchers from the same department or researchers across departments and universities. For establishing a core group, one may apply for up to DKK 6 million, which typically covers a four-year project period.
Villum Foundation - Villum Experiment. This programme was created for the special research projects that challenge the norm and have the potential to fundamentally change the way we approach important topics. The applicant is anonymous to the reviewers. For Danish universities and research institutions, this is also a tool to attract talented researchers outside Denmark. The grant of between DKK 1-2 million is awarded for a research period of up to 2 years and covers all project-related expenses, such as salary, equipment, travel costs etc.
Villum Foundation - Villum Investigator. This programme aims to fund experienced and internationally recognised researchers with the potential to make a significant contribution to research in the technical and natural sciences at a Danish research institution. The ideal applicant is an active researcher who has demonstrated international, groundbreaking research of the highest scientific quality for 10 years or longer. The grant is for six years, after which grant holders are permitted to reapply in competition with other applicants. The grant total is up to DKK 40 million.