Funding for excellent data science projects with potential high impact in life science and biotechnology

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has allocated DKK 410 million for its Data Science Initiative. Part of the funding is awarded in open competition across three programmes, implemented in annual calls in 2020-2022:

  • Data Science Investigator Programme supports excellent independent research leaders with ambitious projects within the field of data science. The programme has separate calls for the Emerging, Ascending, and Distinguished career stages.
  • Data Science Collaborative Research Programme supports data science-driven collaborative research projects within the Foundation’s scientific focus areas.
  • Data Science Research Infrastructure Programme supports establishment and operation of national data science infrastructures through investment in shared supercomputers, hardware, staff positions, data collection, curation, and management.

Complementary to the open competition programmes offered directly by the Foundation, the Foundation has, with co-funding from Velux Foundations, granted DKK 184.3 million for a self-governing national network in 2021-2026:

  • Danish Data Science Academy promotes collaboration, education, and awarding of travel and fellowship grants for PhDs and Postdocs in open competition. Calls are announced via the Academy’s website,

Areas of support

The research proposed for the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s open competition programmes must fall within the following key science areas:

  • Development of new algorithms, methods, and technologies within data science, artificial intelligence (including machine learning and deep learning), data engineering, data mining, statistics, applied math, computer science, big data analytics, etc.
  • Applications of data science (as defined above) within Novo Nordisk Foundation’s scientific focus areas: Biomedical and health science, life science and industrial applications promoting sustainability, as well as natural and technical sciences with potential application in biotechnology or biomedicine.

All applicants must clearly show the relevance of their project for potential future application and impact within the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s scientific focus areas. These are:

  • Biomedical and Health Sciences supports basic research in biomedicine that paves the way for advances in translational medicine and innovative clinical applications. Among the key topics are: basic biomedical research, translational biomedical research and technologies, clinical research, health-related data science infrastructure and applications, and research in patient-centred healthcare and treatment systems.
  • Life Science and Industrial Applications Promoting Sustainability addresses the escalating global sustainability challenges and the potential to make a positive impact for the environment. The research areas that are supported are within industrial biotechnology and environmental biotechnology, plant science, agriculture and food biotechnology as well as ecosystems research related to these areas. Basic research, platforms, and technologies enabling research on sustainability are included.
  • Natural and Technical Sciences supports fundamental research within the natural and technical sciences, including, e.g., physics, chemistry, mathematics, data science, and technical sciences. The research must have potential interdisciplinary application in biomedicine, health sciences, or biotechnology; this application need not be in the project period but could be beyond. Focus areas include interdisciplinary research, quantum technologies with potential application in the life sciences, data science, and health- and med-tech.

Applicants are welcome to contact the Foundation with questions regarding eligible areas of support.


The open competition proposals submitted for Novo Nordisk Foundation are evaluated by the Committee for Data Science, which consists of 12-13 international experts in the field.

Please consult the Novo Nordisk Foundation calls and guidelines here for in-depth information concerning eligibility and requirements.

For more information about funding opportunities within the data science field at the Novo Nordisk Foundation, please contact:

  • Signe Rømer Holm, Grant Manager, +45 7242 2561 /
  • Morten Bache, Senior Scientific Lead, +45 7730 1560 /
  • Ulrik de Lichtenberg, Senior Scientific Officer, +45 3527 6520 /