The aim of VILLUM Young Investigator Programme is to fund talented young researchers in technical and natural sciences.

Applicants are usually within 3-7 years of being awarded their PhD and will at the time of application be an experienced postdoctoral researcher, assistant professor or associate professor. Associate professors must have no more than two years' standing. Leaves of absence will be taken into account.

Applicants are selected on the basis of their independent research accomplishments, creativity and potential to become leaders in the scientific community.

Applicants must have a clearly-defined research goal for the next five years and the research must be of such scope that it requires the formation of a research group.

The grant amount is DKK 7-10 million to cover a research period of up to five years.

We do not fund studies of disease, illness and disabilities in humans and animals, or research that is intended to inform clinical practice.


A VILLUM Young Investigator is appointed for a maximum of five years, at a Danish university.

A VILLUM Young Investigator grant is expected to be a “defining grant”, i.e. a grant that enables the candidate to establish his/her first own research group and allows the grant recipient to demonstrate his/her independent leadership in science.

Applicants must have the scientific qualifications of a candidate qualified for a fixed-term or tenured position at a Danish university.

Postdoctoral researchers who apply for a VILLUM Young Investigator grant, but are considered by the VILLUM Young Investigator Committee not to have the scientific qualifications of a candidate eligible for a fixed-term or tenured position, cannot reapply until 2019.

The salary of the VILLUM Young Investigator will continue to be paid by the host institution throughout the five-year period if the applicant at the time of the submission deadline holds a fixed-term or tenure track position at the host institution. The salary of an applicant who are not in a fixed-term or tenured position can be partly or fully covered by the grant if required.

Associate Professors must have no more than two years' standing.

Any leaves of absence such as military/sick/maternity/parental leaves will be taken into account. The extended period is calculated as the actual number of months of leave. The period of any leave must be stated in the applicant’s CV on page 1 (specified by number of months, year, and cause).

VILLUM FONDEN may in special cases allow an already-approved VILLUM Young Investigator grant to be transferred to another host institution within Denmark.

Assessment and selection

The assessment and selection procedure is divided into two steps.

Step 1: VILLUM Young Investigator Committee evaluates the applications based on the Terms of Reference and recommends to the board of VILLUM FONDEN which applicants should be invited for an interview. 

Step 2: Based on the application and the interview with the applicant, the Committee recommends to the board of VILLUM FONDEN which applicants from Step 2 should receive a VILLUM Young Investigator grant.

Important dates:

5 April 2017: Announcement of the call

21 June 2017: Deadline for applications

30 October 2017: Rejection or invitation for an interview in November 2017

20, 21 and 22 November 2017: Interviews with the selected applicants

22 December 2017: Rejection or approval of grant

VILLUM Young Investigator Committee

Professor Frede Blaabjerg, Department of Energy Technology, Aalborg University, Denmark (Chair)

Professor Bart de Moor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Professor Dorte Juul Jensen, Department of Wind Energy, Technical University of Denmark

Professor Henrik Bruus, Department of Physics, Technical University of Denmark

Professor Charlotte Fløe Kristjansen, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen

Professor Owen Lewis, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK

  • Guidelines (download checklist below). 
  • Research publications. Attach up to three research publications or other documented outputs that best describe your most important scientific achievements/discoveries.
  • CV, including a bibliography of research publications and a list of current research support.
  • Budget form. (download template below). The VILLUM Young Investigator's grant is large and flexible. Applicants may apply for DKK 7-10 million for a period of up to five years, including a 15% overhead to the host institution.The grant can be used to fund postdoctoral researchers, PhD students, equipment, technicians and administrative assistance and other project expenses. Regarding salary of the applicant, please see 'Conditions'.
  • Letter of support. A letter must be supplied by the department expected to host the VILLUM Young Investigator demonstrating the department’s support and recognition of the application.  The department must state that the applicant has the scientific qualifications of a candidate eligible for a fixed-term or tenured position at the host university. The department is invited to comment on how the proposed research and applicant add to the overall objective of the department and the possibility for the applicant to enter into a fixed-term or tenure track position at the host institution should the application be granted. The letter of support is important to the foundation and may be used in the final ranking of two equally qualified candidates from the same institution.

The documents above must all be submitted as pdf files. 
You will be asked to select your field(s) of research from a list in the application system. The field categories and a description of each category can be found here (hyperlink will be inserted). You can select up to three fields of research or optionally type in a new category.    

It is mandatory that you provide us with your ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) which assures that you have a unique ID in our application system and helps us to distinguish you from every other researcher in relation to queries in databases such as Web of Science. You can obtain your ORCID here. Your ORCID must be typed in along with your contact information in the application system.


My application was rejected in 2016. Can I apply in 2017?

You may apply in 2017, unless it was otherwise specified in the letter of rejection.

I was awarded my Ph.d. degree more than seven years ago. Can I still apply?

Yes, you may still apply.
In 2016 grant recipients have received their Ph.d. degree on average 5±2 years prior to the application date. 

What is mean by a research group?

A research group is a minimum of three researchers, i.e. one grant holder/PI and two other researchers, e.g. one PhD student and one postdoc.

What is meant by two years’ standing?

If you have been employed as an Associate Professor for more than two years, i.e. prior to 1 June 1 2015 according to your contract, you cannot apply. Any leaves of absence such as military/sick/maternity/parental leaves will be taken into account.


Ready to apply?

Application deadline is 21 June 2017