Please note that application deadline has passed. Deadline was 2 September 2020, 2 PM. 

VILLUM FONDEN is pleased to announce the 2020 call for the appointment of outstanding scientists as Villum Investigators. A total amount of DKK 400 million is allocated to this call. 

The aim of the Villum Investigator Programme is to allow researchers to pursue original new ideas in technical or natural sciences.

Applicants are expected to be active researchers who have a track record of excellent research for the last 10 years or more.

A Villum Investigator is appointed for a six-year period at a Danish university or another Danish research institution. Applicants who are already established in Denmark may apply for up to DKK 30 million. Applicants who at the time of application have been employed outside Denmark for at least four of the last five years may apply for up to DKK 40 million. 

You can apply, even if you have previously received a rejection. Please note that applicants in the 2020 call who are not invited for an interview will be ineligible to apply in the next Villum Investigator call in 2022.

Villum Investigators can re-apply at the end of their grant period in open competition with other applicants.

Assessment and selection

The assessment and selection process is divided into two steps.

Step 1: The Foundation's Working group for technical and natural sciences 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. The selected applications will be sent for external peer review. Applicants not invited for an interview will receive a rejection at this stage.

Step 2: Based on the application, three independent peer reviews, the applicant's written reply to the peer reviews, and an interview with the applicant, the working group recommends to the board of VILLUM FONDEN which applicants should receive a Villum Investigator grant.

Important dates:

  • 2 September 2020: Deadline for applications
  • 22 December 2020: Rejection or invitation to interview
  • 13 January 2021: Peer reviews are forwarded to the selected applicants
  • 20 January 2021: Deadline for applicants' comments on peer reviews
  • 9-11 February 2021: Interviews for the selected applicants
  • March 2021: Rejection or approval of grant
Members of the Working group for technical and natural sciences


  • Professor Anja Boisen, Department of Micro and Nanotechnology, Technical University of Denmark. VILLUM FONDEN board member.
  • Professor Christian S. Jensen, Department of Computer Science, Aalborg University. VILLUM FONDEN board member.
  • Professor Jane Clarke, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge. External committee member.
  • Professor Poul Henrik Damgaard, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen University. External committee member.
  • Professor Guy Marin, Laboratory for Chemical Technology, Ghent University. External committee member.
  • Professor Björn Ottersten, Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust, University of Luxembourg. External committee member.

Villum Investigators are required to devote at least 75% of their total effort to the direct conduct of technical and/or natural sciences and education. Successful applicants with administrative responsibilities or other professional duties inconsistent with this time commitment are expected to work with their host institution to reduce these duties to the required level.

The research must be conducted at the Danish research institution where the applicant is employed.

The grant cannot be used to cover the base salary of the VILLUM Investigator. The host institution will continue to pay this throughout the six-year period as a VILLUM Investigator. 

VILLUM FONDEN has a focus on equal opportunities throughout the assessment process and grant period.

We do not support

Health or veterinary research, i.e. research focused on the health of humans and animals, including nutrition, medicine, biomedicine, pharmacology and research within diagnostics and methods for examination and treatment.

Furthermore, applicants affiliated with departments whose main scientific focus is within these areas (including university health departments, hospitals, the Danish Cancer Society, and DTU Health Tech) are not eligible to apply and will receive an administrative rejection.


The application must contain the following documents:

  • Application (download guidelines below).
  • Research publications. List of up to five research publications or other documented outputs that best describe your most important scientific achievements/discoveries during the last five years. Be specific about your own contribution to any multiauthor publications. Please provide link to online publications preferably in the public domain.
  • CV, publication list from the last 10 years, and a list of current research funding.
  • Budget form (download guidelines below). The VILLUM Investigator grant is large and flexible. Applicants already established at a Danish research institution may apply for up to DKK 30 million for a period of six years, including a 15% overhead to the host institution. Applicants who at the time of application have been employed outside Denmark for at least four of the last five years may apply for up to DKK 40 million including overhead.  The size of the budget is expected to reflect expenses typical for the proposed research field. The grant can be used to fund postdoctoral researchers, PhD students, equipment, technical and administrative assistance, and other customary project expenses.
  • Letter of support. A letter from the institution expected to host the Villum Investigator demonstrating its support for and recognition of the application.
  • Optional request for certain peer reviewers not to be included in the process. Please note that the foundation is not bound to exclude specific reviewers.

The documents above must be submitted as six separate pdf files.

You will be asked to select your field(s) of research from a pick list in the application system. The field categories and a description of each category can be found here. 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. You can obtain your ORCID here. Your ORCID must be entered along with your contact information in the application system.


The application system allows me to add co-applicants. Is this required?
No, the Villum Investigator Programme is not meant to include co-applicants. The application system covers all our programmes and that’s the reason why the co-applicant option is available.

Are references included in the page limit in item C in the application guidelines?
No, references must be listed in item K. Please note that item K is a literature list and not a list of your own publications.

Is the PI required to spend 75% of the working hours on the Villum Investigator grant?
No, not necessarily. The PI is required to spend a substantial amount of time on the Villum Investigator grant and devote at least 75% of her/his total effort to the direct conduct of technical and/or natural sciences and education in general.

For further information, please contact:
Anders Smith
Senior Adviser, Head of programme, VILLUM FONDEN
+45 29 66 70 86