Overview of instruments

Sapere Aude: DFF-Starting Grant

The Independent Research Fund Denmark aim is to promote and strengthen Danish research, understood in a broad sense. Therefore, there are no requirements as to applicants’ citizenship, the location of research institutions or the specific venue for carrying out the research activities applied for. In all cases, a general assessment criterion will be the extent to which the project will benefint Danish research.

Sapere Aude: DFF-Starting Grants are targeted at excellent, younger researchers who intend to gather a group of researchers in order to carry out a research project at a high international level. 

The objective of Sapere Aude: DFF–Starting Grant is to give younger, very talented researchers an opportunity to develop and strengthen their research ideas. The instrument also aims at promoting the mobility internationally as well as nationally between research environments, and thereby to strengthen the researchers’ networks and careers.

Sapere Aude: DFF–Starting Grant is aimed at younger, very talented researchers who at the time of the application deadline and within the last eight years have obtained their PhD or achieved equivalent qualifications (e.g. a positive assistant professorship evaluation ("adjunktbedømmelse"), and who have demonstrated an ability to carry out original research at a high international level.  It is the date on which you were awarded the degree of PhD as stated on the PhD diploma that will be used to calculate the age of your degree. Alternatively, if this date is not stated, the date of issue of the diploma will be used.

The Independent Research Fund Denmark expects that a Sapere Aude: DFF-Starting Grant will help to enable the applicant to apply for an ERC Starting Grant/Consolidator Grant/Advanced Grant, or corresponding international programmes.

DFF-Research Project 1 and 2 

Independent Research Fund Denmark offers two types of research projects named IRFD-Research Project 1 and 2.

DFF-Research project 1

In order to strengthen the quality of Danish research, Independent Research Fund Denmark offers funding for research projects within a framework of up to DKK 2,000,000, excl. overhead for a duration of up to 3 years. What characterises a DFF–Research Project 1 is a clear and well defined problem statement, where the research activities must be at a high international level.

The applicant must be able to document independent research experience typically corresponding to 3 years of research or more after having obtained a PhD (or similar qualifications). The applicant’s previous results will be assessed in relation to his/her career, and in relation to the scientific challenges of the project applied for. If the applicant has no formal supervisory qualifications and the project involves the education of researchers, it must be stated in the application how the relevant supervision will be provided, and how the scientific connection with the project will be ensured.

DFF- Research project 2

In order to strengthen the quality of Danish research and develop the level of collaboration, Independent Research Fund Denmark offers funding for research projects to be carried out by several researchers (including postdocs and PhD students) and within a framework of DKK 2,000,000 – 4,300,000, excl. overhead for a duration of up to 4½ years. A DFF–Research Project 2 is characterised by a coordinated and mutually binding collaboration that takes its point of departure in a well-defined, joint problem statement. However, it may also be a project formulated by a single researcher, but which is to be carried out in a research team, when it can be argued that the project is particularly ambitious and resource demanding, and that the research objective cannot be obtained through a DFF–Research Project 1. The research activities must have the potential to achieve a synergy between sub-projects, involve an international level of collaboration (if relevant) and be of a high international standard.

The applicant must have completed a postdoc or assistant professorship programme (or similar), or for physicians, an equivalent postgraduate research programme. The applicant’s previous results will be assessed in relation to his/her career and in relation to the scientific challenges of the project applied for. If the applicant has no formal supervisory qualifications and the project involves the education of researchers, it must be stated in the application how the relevant supervision will be provided, and how the scientific connection with the project will be ensured.

DFF-International Postdoctoral Grant

The purpose of DFF-International Postdoctoral Grant is to strengthen the international mobility of young talented researchers, as well as to maintain and develop the competencies of researchers who are in the beginning of their research careers.

The aim is to enable the grant recipient to consolidate his or her individual research profile by managing and carrying out a specific research project, in an independent manner, at a research institution abroad.

You can apply for a DFF-International Postdoctoral Grant which is 2 years. As part of these 2 years, a maximum of 6 consecutive months (either at the start or the end of the project period) can be spent at a Danish research institution.

Applicant requirements

Researchers who have a PhD or have obtained equivalent qualifications (such as a positive assistant professorship evaluation "adjunktbedømmelse") may apply for a DFF-International Postdoctoral Grant. Your PhD must have been awarded by a Danish research institution.

DFF emphasises that applicants are at the beginning of their research careers. Thus, calculated from the application deadline, no more than 3 years must have elapsed since you obtained your PhD. Leaves of absence such as maternity/paternity leave, illness or family care leave, leave for military service, humanitarian aid work, etc. will be taken into account. In addition, specific scientific/academic circumstances may be taken into account.

Examples include clinical stays or similar activities which can be considered a necessary step in a career path, but where the time for research has been very limited. For applicants who have been on maternity or paternity leave after obtaining their PhD, the Fund will allow for an extended period of time since the degree was obtained. The extended period is calculated by multiplying the actual number of leave months by factor 2.
The exact period of the maternity/paternity leave (start and end date), must be stated in the applicant’s CV.

The application must be submitted by the applicant, and the Fund expects that the project description has been formulated personally by the applicant him-/herself.

You may commence your project once you have obtained a positive PhD evaluation. Please note that your PhD diploma must be submitted to the Danish Agency for Education and Science before the first instalment can take place.

As a PhD student you may apply, provided that you attach a declaration from your supervisor stating that your thesis will be submitted within 6 months of the application deadline. If you are awarded a postdoctoral grant, but subsequently fail to submit your PhD thesis within the given deadline, the grant will be annulled.

Non-university Research Education (PhD)

Under the Danish Finance Act an amount has been earmarked for the education of researchers at public research institutions outside the universities, and these funds will be distributed by Independent Research Fund Denmark.

Please note that Independent Research Fund Denmark does not generally offer support for individual PhD scholarships. Therefore you cannot apply for an individual PhD grant for a university programme.

The purpose of the PhD grants under this Call is to strengthen the education of researchers at public research institutions in Denmark outside the universities. The instrument is relevant for institutions outside the universities which are subject to the rules concerning subsidised research activities in the Danish Ministry of Finance’s budget guidelines, and which are authorised to carry out subsidised research activities. Thus, the instrument covers e.g. state-owned research institutions, educational institutions under the Danish Ministry of Culture with accredited PhD programmes, sector research institutions, the University Colleges Denmark as well as state archives, libraries and museums. However, it does not cover state approved institutions, such as Advanced Technology Group (GTS) institutes, hospitals, etc.

You may apply for a PhD grant if you have a Master’s degree as well as confirmation from an institution covered by this instrument stating that it will be willing to host your project, if you are awarded a grant. Each institution can issue a maximum of 3 letters of confirmation to applicants applying for this instrument. The institution’s acceptance to host a project is given by signing the project budget in the application (see Appendix C and Appendix C, section 6). It is up to the individual institution to decide which three candidates it wishes to give its consent to hosting.

If the hosting institution does not award PhD degrees independently, you must be enrolled at a Danish institution with an accredited PhD programme and be affiliated to such a PhD programme or equivalent scheme at that institution. Grants are awarded on the condition that you become enrolled in a PhD programme, and that a collaboration agreement is drawn up between applicant/the hosting institution and the degree-awarding institution, which must be approved by Independent Research Fund Denmark. The collaboration agreement should not be included in the application but submitted if a grant is awarded. Your principal PhD supervisor must be a recognised researcher employed at the degree-awarding institution at which you will be enrolled. Only the hosting institution can function as grant administrator – also when the PhD course will take place at a university or another accredited degree-awarding institution. Prior to submitting the application, the applicant must have facilitated a contact between the degree-awarding institution and the institution hosting the project. 

Research networks | Humanities

The purpose of Research Networks | Humanities is to help strengthening research areas which are geographically and institutionally scattered, and which would benefit highly from the development of international relations.

Independent Research Fund Denmark | Humanities also supports networks which could lead to larger projects or larger interdisciplinary groups of researchers working across institutions, including cultural research institutions and universities. Independent Research Fund Denmark | Humanities only supports broadly based research networks with participation from Danish and foreign research institutions.

The group of applicants must as a minimum consist of two researchers at associate professor/senior researcher level. One of the applicants must be appointed project leader in advance, and thus have the grant responsibility towards Independent Research Fund Denmark | Humanities. Funding is only offered to the establishment of new research Networks.

Journals | Humanities

In order to support the dissemination of humanistic research through scientific journals, printed as well as e-journals, Independent Research Fund Denmark| Humanities offers funding to established as well as new journals of a high scientific value which strive for an international level of circulation. However, the Council does take into account that certain areas of humanistic research will primarily be geared towards a Danish readership. Grants for journals are awarded as a deficit guarantee.

As applicant you must be the chief editor of the journal and have associate professor/senior researcher level qualifications as a minimum. The editorial board or committee must furthermore be comprised of active researchers from at least two different scientific institutions in Denmark.

In order to be eligible for support from Independent Research Fund Denmark | Humanities, the journal must use external peer reviews to assess the scientific quality of the articles. In order to be awarded funding for an established journal, the journal must have a reasonable circulation within the relevant field of science. For e-journals, this is determined through a concrete assessment of the extent and scientific weight of the journal. For printed journals, a minimum of 200 subscribers is required. Only journals that accompany all their articles with an abstract written in an international language (i.e. English, German, French or Spanish) will be considered. Furthermore, funding can only be offered to journals that do not offer author fees. Independent Research Fund Denmark | Humanities does not support popularised science journals.

International Research Stays | Social Sciences

In order to promote the internationalisation of Danish research, Independent Research Fund Denmark | Social Sciences provides funding for research visits at institutions outside Denmark for continuous periods of at least 3 months.

In order to promote the internationalisation of Danish research, Independent Research Fund Denmark | Social Sciences (FSE) provides funding for research stays at foreign institutions for continuous periods of at least 3 months. The research stay should be based on specific research activities and contribute to those activities through strengthened international collaboration and networks or collection of data.

The application must be submitted by the researcher going on the proposed research stay. You must have obtained a PhD or achieved equivalent qualifications through your research.

Clinician scientist positions | Medical Sciences

Independent Research Fund Denmark | Medical Sciences offers funding for clinician scientist part-time positions.

Independent Research Fund Denmark | Medical Sciences (FSS) can fund workload reductions for clinician scientist positions, so that up to 6 months of the year are dedicated to carrying out a research project, while the remaining time is spent in a clinical position remunerated by the employing institution. In relation to non-state owned institutions, it is a requirement that 50 % of the time spent on research is co-financed by the institution, and thus the council will finance a maximum of 3 months’ salaries per year.

Funding is primarily awarded to medical doctors, dentists and veterinarians who have obtained a PhD or equivalent qualifications through their research. At the time of employment, applicants must be employed in a clinical position with no possibility of carrying out research. It is not a requirement that the research activity is carried out in the employing clinical department. Please note that the council prioritises applications where the applicant’s clinical position involves patient treatment. 

Pregraduate scholarships | Medical Sciences

In order to give qualified students the opportunity to undertake pregraduate research, DFF | Medical Sciences offers Pregraduate scholarships of a maximum duration of 1 year.

Danish Council for Independent Research | Medical Sciences (FSS) funds pregraduate scholarships of a duration of maximum 1 year, for the purpose of giving qualified students to undertake pregraduate research.

Applications for pregraduate scholarships must be submitted by the student’s academic supervisor. As supervisor, you must have obtained a PhD or achieved equivalent qualifications through your research. The council emphasises that you have experience as a supervisor and an individual research profile. The council strives to distribute the scholarship awards among different research environments, so as to provide recruitment to a wide range of health sciences. Therefore, the council will only fund one pregraduate scholarship per supervisor at a time.

Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW)

Danish Council for Independent Research Fund Denmark announces the Gruduate Research Opporunities Worldwide in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, enabling Graduate Research Fellows from USA to carry out research visits with a DFF grantholder a host researcher.

Researchers who have been awarded DFF-Sapere Aude: Starting Grant, DFF-Sapere Aude: Advanced Grant or DFF- Research project 1, 2 or 3 grants, can receive supplementary funding from DFF to host a master’s or PhD student for between 2-12 months. The student candidate must be attached to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the supplementary grant must add a clear international dimension to both the student candidate’s research and to Danish research.