Please note that application deadline has passed. Deadline was 3 March 2021, 2 PM.

VILLUM FONDEN is pleased to announce the second call for applications for the Villum Synergy Programme. An amount of DKK 50 million is currently allocated to this call.

Compelling evidence show that interdisciplinary research is markedly more effective at leading to ground-breaking results when compared to mono-disciplinary research. Digitalisation, artificial intelligence and big data calls for new collaborations that combine expertise within computer science with other research areas.

VILLUM FONDEN wishes to strengthen such collaborations in Denmark with this initiative focusing on interdisciplinary data-driven science.

An amount of DKK 50 million is currently allocated to this call. The foundation is aiming at a ratio of about 15/35 i.e. DKK 15 million for Initiation projects and DKK 35 million for Full projects:

  • Initiation project grants on DKK 2-3 million for up to two years are available for new collaborations.
  • Established collaborations mature enough to benefit from a large grant can apply for a full project grant on DKK 10-20 million for three to five years.

All grant amounts include up to 15% for indirect costs.

  • 3 March 2021, 2 PM: Deadline for applications
  • 4 June 2021: Rejection or information about the further process
  • 24 June 2021: Interview with full project applicants (PI 1 and PI 2)
  • 6 September 2021: Rejection or approval of grants

Projects must involve two PIs that are both employed at a Danish research institution. It is required that one is a methodological expert from computer science, statistics or applied mathematics and the other a domain expert from a field of application that may be broadly chosen (not medicine and clinical research*). Co-PIs providing additional required expertise may also be included in the project.

The research must be conducted at the Danish research institution where the applicants are employed.

PIs must hold tenure and cannot apply for own salary. The grant cannot be used to cover the base salary of PI 1 (methodological expert) or PI 2 (domain expert). 

An applicant can only be PI on one application.

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

International collaborations may be included in the project. Project funds should mainly cover activities at Danish universities

Projects with a pure commercial focus are not supported.

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.

Assesment and selection

Proposals are evaluated on the sole criterion of scientific excellence by the selection committee (se below).

The assessment and selection process are divided into two steps.

Step 1: The foundation's Working group for technical and natural sciences supplemented with additional members from computer science and humanities/social sciences evaluates the applications based on the Terms of Reference (download below). The committee recommends to the board which applications should continue to step 2 and which applications should be rejected.

Step 2: Proposals for full projects are also subjected to external peer review and the applicants are invited for an interview with the selection comitee. After the interview the committee will recommend a number of full projects and initiation projects to be granted by the board of VILLUM FONDEN.


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

External committee members:

  • Professor Michael Böhlen, Department of Informatics Database Technology, University of Zurich, CH, External committee member
  • Professor Mathias Drton, Department of Mathematical Statistics, Technical University of Munich, D, External committee member
  • Associate Professor Stine Lomborg, Department of Communication, University of Copenhagen, DK, External committee member

Please include the following when applying:

Application including illustrations, tables etc. but ex. references must not exceed up to five pages for initiation projects and 10 pages for full projects. Applications which exceed the number of required pages will be rejected (download application guidelines)

Please note that on the application portal, PI 1 must be listed as main applicant and PI 2 as co-applicant for practical reasons only. PI 1 will act as corresponding PI.
CVs for PI 1 and PI 2 only (no more than two pages for each PI) followed by a publication list from the past 10 years. 

CVs from other project participants or collaborators are not allowed

CVs which do not meet the requirements will be rejected, se A and B below. 

A: The CV for PI 1 and PI 2 respectively must not exceed 2 pages and should be organized as follows:

- Personal data
- Education (academic degrees with date and year of attainment)
- Current and previous academic employment. In the case of temporary employment, please specify the date of termination of your current contract.
- Any periods of leave (such as maternity, parental or nursing leave, military service, humanitarian relief work, etc.). For leave periods, please indicate the reason for leave and start and end dates.
- Academic awards and honors
- Management experience, including experience in project management
- Scientific focus areas
- International collaborations
- Supervision (Ph.D. students and postdocs) 

B: Following your CV please list your publications. A and B must be uploaded as one document, i.e. one document for PI 1 and one for PI 2

 Budget form (download budget template below).

 Letter of support (one letter only). PI 1 and PI 2 must decide which institute/department shall host the project administratively and submit a letter clearly demonstrating its support and recognition of the application.  
Submit the above-mentioned documents as pdf files.

Applicants are required to indicate their field(s) of research in the application system. The field categories that can be chosen and a description of each category, can be found here. Applicants can select up to three fields of research. Research fields that are not included on the list can be typed in.

All applicants are required to submit their ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), which assures that applicants have a unique ID in the application system and helps to distinguish them from other researchers when making queries in Web of Science or similar databases. Applicants can obtain their ORCID here. ORCIDs should be entered in the contact-information section in the application system.

The application must be submitted via our application portal.


Q: Can a project involve two PI’s from the same institution?

A: Yes, if one PI is a methodological expert from computer science, statistics or applied mathematics and the other a domain expert from a field of application that may be broadly chosen.


Q: Are PI’s with seniority preferred?

A: No, excellence is the sole criteria


Q: Is it possible to submit applications from the same department for an Initiation Grant as well as a Full Project Grant?

A: Yes, however applicants can only be PI on one application


Q: Is it possible to apply for a Villum Synergy Grant if you are already holding a grant from VILLUM FONDEN?

A: Yes, you may apply and will be evaluated on equal terms as other applicants. It is important that the Synergy project adds new knowledge and is not just an extension of the current Villum project.


Q: Is it possible for two PI’s with an already proven track record of interdisciplinary research collaboration to apply for an Initiation grant?

A: No, the Initiation grant is reserved to for new collaborations


Q: Does VILLUM FONDEN favour projects where the idea originates from the side of the Domain Expert or preferring projects from the side of the Methodologic Expert?

A: No, only excellence is preferred


Q: Are Synergy Projects from Engineering Departments eligible?

A: Yes, very much so. It is important that you clearly explain that your project has distinct elements of ‘beyond state-of-the art’ within your field of research.


Q: Should PI1 always be the Methodological expert and PI2 the Domain expert

A: Yes, for practical reasons only


Q: Does the choice of PI and P2 have any influence on which of the collaborators should administer any part of the grant?

A: No


Q: Should the 750 characters for sections C, D and E and H provide information about both PIs

A: Yes


Q: Is the reference list included in the 5-page limit?

A: No

VILLUM FONDEN funds excellent research in the technical and natural sciences

Michel M.H. Kristensen
Senior Adviser, Head of programme, VILLUM FONDEN
+ 45 29 41 78 89