Please note that the application deadline was 22 October 2019.

VILLUM FONDEN is pleased to announce a new postdoc programme for excellent female scientists in the technical and natural sciences wishing to pursue a university career. 

Female scientists in university career positions (assistant, associate and full professor) are underrepresented. To increase the amount of female scientists in such positions, VILLUM FONDEN has decided to earmark a new programme for women in science for a period of five years.

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.

We do not support research which has its main root at university hospitals or at health science faculties and departments, e.g. DTU Health Tech or UCPH Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

The programme provides the opportunity for an international experience at the highest academic level for female scientists with a Danish PhD degree and a dream to pursue a university career in Denmark.

Applicants must plan a stay abroad and a return to a Danish research institution. Universities must actively support the candidate by enabling them to return to Denmark and initiate an independent university career after their stay abroad.

The foundation will provide support for spouse and children if required.


Female scientist:

  • Must be recommended by their Danish home institution.
  • Must have obtained their PhD in Denmark within the technical and natural sciences.
  • Danish citizenship is not a requirement.
  • Must be recommended within preferably one year after PhD graduation.

Home institution:

  • Must organise a mentor at the applicants’ disposal (mentor, not supervisor).
  • Must make a plan together with the applicant for the entire grant period including a plan for a postdoc position (possibly payed by the grant), lab space etc. upon return to Denmark. The possibility of a post grant tenure track position may also be addressed.
  • Should support the applicant by exempting them from administrative responsibilities at their return allowing them to focus fully on building their own group, attract students and pursuing an independent career.

International stay:

  • The international stay must involve a new research field that can serve as an initial inspiration for an independent career. Hence, a stay with an acknowledged professor abroad, who does not work directly in the same field or have collaborated with the applicants’ PhD supervisor, that should pave the way for an independent career after returning to Denmark.
  • Co-funding from the host institution abroad is encouraged but not required.
How to apply?

We invite the natural and technical science faculties at the Danish universities to recommend one or two eligible top talented female scientists to apply. We do not accept unsolicited applications for this programme.

Technical University of Denmark, University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University are invited to submit two applications each.

Aalborg University, University of Southern Denmark, IT University of Copenhagen and Roskilde University are invited to submit one application each.

It is the responsibility of the female applicant to submit the proposal to the foundation accompanied by appropriate support letters from the institute and faculty.

Grant amount and time frame

The grant amount which can be applied for is DKK 1-2.5 million.

The time frame is three to four years, including an international stay of one to two years, and a return to a Danish research institution of about one year.

VILLUM FONDEN will offer additional living expenses to grantees at their stay abroad. E.g. day care or support for spouses.

An amount of DKK 15 million plus funds for possible family support is allocated to the call in 2019.

Assessment and selection

Based on the applications the foundation’s research committee on technical and natural sciences will recommend to the board which applicants should receive a Villum International Postdoc grant.

Proposals are evaluated on the sole criterion of scientific excellence.

Selection committee
  • 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.
Important dates
  • 25 June 2019: Announcement of the call
  • 22 October 2019 at 14.00: Deadline for applications
  • 21 December 2019: Approval or rejection of grant
  • Application: Max seven pages/20,000 characters with spaces (guidelines): purpose, background, methods, research plan.
  • CV: Max two pages and publication list.
  • Budget: Please use budget template. The Villum International Postdoc grant is flexible. Applicants may apply for DKK 1-2.5 million for a period of up to four years, including 15% indirect costs to the host institution for the part of the grant that takes place in Denmark. Additional financial support for travel costs, spouse support etc. granted on an individual basis.
  • Letter of support from home institution: A letter must be supplied by the head of department co-signed by the dean expected to host the Villum International Postdoc grantee clearly demonstrating the department’s support and recognition of the application (see conditions for home institution). 
  • Letter of support from foreign institution: A letter from head of department and head of research group clarifying the terms and conditions of the international stay.
  • Copy of PhD certificate or documentation for submitted PhD dissertation

Earmarked research funding for women

Just one out of seven science and technology professors in Denmark is a woman. The further up the academic career ladder you go, the fewer women you find...

VILLUM FONDEN funds excellent research in the technical and natural sciences

Please contact us if you need further information:

Thomas Bjørnholm
Executive Chief Scientific Officer, professor, VILLUM FONDEN
+45 28 75 18 35


Professor Thomas Bjørnholm is responsible for the foundation’s research programmes in technical and natural sciences.
Previously Thomas Bjørnholm was Prorector for Research and Innovation and Deputy Rector at the University of Copenhagen with overall responsibility for research and innovation across all disciplines at the university.

He is a professor of Materials Chemistry and the founding director of the Nano-Science Center at the University of Copenhagen.

Thomas Bjørnholm is a member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences and he has served on numerous boards and committees.

As a scientist, he has published more than 200 articles in scientific journals and books including contributions to the highly-recognized journals Nature and Science. He has given more than 150 invited talks at conferences and research institutes around the world and received research awards, including the Ole Rømer Foundation Award, the Ellen & Niels Bjerrum Award and gold medal, and the Director Ib Henriksen Award.

See more extensive CV