Please note that application deadline has passed. Deadline was 5 May 2021, 2 PM.

NB: Earmarked for women and only open to a limited number of endorsed applicants.

Villum International Postdoc programme supports 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 number of female scientists in such positions, VILLUM FONDEN has decided to earmark this programme for women in science for a period of five years.

The programme provides the opportunity to initiate an independent research profile and harvest a substantial international experience at the highest academic level. Female scientists with a Danish PhD degree and a dream to pursue a university career can be endorsed for the programme.

It is a requirement that applicants plan a stay abroad and a return to a Danish research institution. Universities should actively support the candidate by endorsing their application and enabling them to return to Denmark and initiate an independent university career after their stay abroad.


The following are preconditions for a successful application 

Female scientist:

  • Recommendation and endorsement by the Danish home institution.
  • PhD from Denmark within the technical and natural sciences or equivalent degree.
  • Danish citizenship not required.
  • Enrolment as a PhD student with up to one year left before graduation or a PhD degree acquired up to one year before the application deadline. 

Home institution:

  • Endorsement and recommendation of the candidate.
  • Facilitation of a mentor for the applicant (mentor, not supervisor).
  • Facilitation of a plan in collaboration with the applicant for the entire grant period including a plan for a postdoc position (possibly paid by the grant), lab space etc. upon return to Denmark. The possibility of a post grant tenure track position may also be addressed.
  • Supporting the applicant by allowing them to focus fully on pursuing an independent career.

International stay:

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

We do not support

VILLUM FONDEN does not support health or veterinary research, i.e. research focused on the health of humans or 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.

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 application to the foundation accompanied by appropriate support letters from the department 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 years, including an international stay of one to preferably two years, and a return to a Danish research institution of about one year.

An amount of DKK 15 million is allocated to the call in 2021.

VILLUM FONDEN additionally provides funds for family support based on an individual assessment by the host department and the international office at the host university.

Assessment and selection

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

Proposals should fulfill the above requirements and are evaluated on the sole criterion of scientific excellence.

Members of the Working group for technical and natural sciences
  • Professor Anja Boisen, Department of Micro- and Nanotechnology, Technical University of Denmark, board member, VILLUM FONDEN
  • Professor Christian S. Jensen, Department of Computer Science, Aalborg University, board member, VILLUM FONDEN
  • Professor Björn Ottersten, University of Luxembourg & KTH Royal Institute of Technology
  • Professor Colin Kleanthous, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford
  • Professor Guy Marin, Department of Materials, Textiles and Chemical Engineering, Ghent University
  • Professor Susana F. Huelga, Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of Ulm
Important dates
  • 8 February 2021: Announcement of the call
  • 5 May 2021 at 2 PM: Deadline for applications
  • Early September 2021: Approval or rejection of grant
  • Application: Max seven pages/20,000 characters with spaces (see guidelines): purpose, background, methods, research plan.
  • CV: Max two pages and publication list.
  • Budget: Please use the budget template. The Villum International Postdoc grant is flexible. Applicants may apply for DKK 1-2.5 million for a period of up to three 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. may be granted on an individual basis at the discretion of the department and the International HR Office at the applicant's university.
  • Letter of support from home institution: A letter should 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, documentation for submitted PhD dissertation or documentation of enrolment as PhD student.

Villum International Postdocs 2020:

Six female scientists kick-start their careers. 

Villum International Postdocs 2020:

Eight researchers secure grants.