Internationalisation policy

Independent Research Fund Denmark is responsible for furthering the  level of scientific research in Denmark.

An essential element in this is to strengthen the internationalisation of Danish research and through this ensure the best opportunities for new discoveries within research and for obtaining international research funds.

Denmark produces research at a high international standard. Independent Research Fund Denmark aims to create the best framework conditions for Danish research to enable it to maintain and strengthen this position. Danish researchers must be provided with the best opportunities for international cooperation and knowledge sharing as well as focused career management including the possibility to carry out part of their research abroad. Furthermore, the Fund must ensure that foreign talents are able to carry out research in Denmark.

Achieving worldclass research presupposes close cooperation with international elite environments. Therefore the Independent Research Fund Denmark is actively involved in international research cooperation maintaining a continuous focus on adjusting its instruments and support.


All research areas have international dimensions, whether these be methodologies and theories, fields of study, materials, publication, cooperation or knowledge sharing. These dimensions continue to change character and meaning within all research areas.

Therefore the Independent Research Fund Denmark regularly adjusts its instruments to support and match the goals of knowledge sharing and participation in international research cooperation to benefit Danish research. Thus internationalisation is always an aspect in the Fund’s assessment of applications.

In its instruments and grants, the Independent Research Fund Denmark has the following priorities and focus areas which are to raise awareness of Danish research and contribute to strengthened internationalisation:

  • that internationalisation of scientific methodologies and theories, publication, cooperation and knowledge sharing continues to be an important element in the assessment of projects as well as applicants;
  • that Danish researchers develop into preferred/attractive collaboration partners in international research projects;
  • that research projects are conducted in close cooperation with international partners;
  • that researchers in Denmark are encouraged to participate in stays abroad, and that the possibility to return to a career as a researcher in Denmark is ensured;
  • that foreign talents are brought to Denmark;
  • that researchers in Denmark publish through the most recognised channels;
  • that research stays abroad are supported, primarily as an integrated part of research projects;
  • that Danish researchers are ensured access to international research infrastructures;
  • that internationalisation is encouraged in order to ensure linguistic and cultural diversity in research.
Special initiatives

Independent Research Fund Denmark will launch initiatives regularly to strengthen internationalisation of Danish research. These initiatives will be launched to achieve synergy and coordination with international research programmes, and through this strengthen international knowledge sharing, mobility and awards of international research grants.

Sapere Aude is aiming to develop the skills of the most talented researchers so as to enable them to compete with the international elite. Sapere Aude grant recipients have international clout, providing them with a good starting point from which to compete for the most prestigious international grants. The purpose of the Sapere Aude initiative, which aims to include the entire research community, is to set up clear career paths for the best researchers in Denmark and to enhance potentials to attract international research grants.

Internationalisation is weighed higher in grants awarded to individual as well as embedded postdocs. Project descriptions should therefore explicitly state how the project contributes to internationalisation of the researcher as well as research in Denmark. Independent Research Fund Denmark encourages postdocs to carry out to take longterm research stays abroad.

International research collaboration

Independent Research Fund Denmark finds that internationalisation is an essential element of its work. For this reason, the Fund is strongly represented in Nordic as well European and global research collaboration. The Fund’s focus is specifically to:

  • increase focus in international fora on bottom-up research, mobility for researchers, diversity in research as well as simplification of structures and processes in relation to the application itself, application processing and application evaluation;
  • invest in collaboration with relevant international parties;
  • establish bilateral collaboration agreements to improve the possibilities for incoming and outgoing mobility among researchers.
Nordic research collaboration

Independent Research Fund Denmark considers Nordic collaboration to be an important part of the European research landscape. Funds for Nordic researcher training and Nordic research networks are an important stepping stone in researchers’ path to large consortia and grants. Therefore the Fund supports Nordic research collaboration in fields in which the research communities of the Nordic countries supplement each other, and in which it is possible to create scientific added value and synergy.

The most important Nordic research fora for the Independent Research Fund Denmark is the Joint Committees for Nordic Research (NOS) and NordForsk. In its collaboration with the Joint Committees for Nordic Research and NordForsk, the Danish Council for Independent Research contributes to realising the vision of the Nordic countries as a leading and coherent region for research and innovation.

European research collaboration

The European research collaboration plays the most vital role in the international activities of the Independent Research Fund Denmark and is primarily realised through research collaboration under the EU and policy work through Science Europe.

The ambition of Europe as a frontrunner in the global knowledge-based community builds on the vision of a European Research Area (ERA) in which European researchers cooperate across specialist and national borders. Free movement of knowledge, researchers and technology and better coordination of research activities and research policies are crucial.

Independent Research Fund Denmark supports the ambition to establish a European research area on the researchers’ own terms. Independent Research Fund Denmark believes in particular that the European Research Council (ERC) should continue to develop into the leading body for international competition for research funds at European level. Therefore the Fund is working to ensure an active interplay between Council grants and support from the ERC in order to enable researchers to combine national and European grants.

Global research collaboration

Independent Research Fund Denmark seeks to promote collaboration opportunities for Danish researchers with relevant research communities in and outside Europe. Examples of this are collaboration with the National Science Foundation in the US and the newly established innovation centres in selected international research communities in new growth areas. Moreover, the Fund is active in the Global Research Council.

Professor Peter Munk Christiansen
Chairman of the Danish Council for Independent Research