VILLUM FONDEN is pleased to announce the first call for applications for the Villum Synergy Programme. An amount of DKK 50 million is 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 new initiative focusing on the interdisciplinary field of data-driven science.

  • 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.


Projects should involve two PIs that are both affiliated with a Danish research institution. One should a be 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.

PIs must hold tenure.

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

An applicant can only be PI on one application.

*VILLUM FONDEN does 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. VILLUM FONDEN does not support research which has its main root at university hospitals, or at health science faculties and departments.

Projects with a pure commercial focus are not supported.

Assesment and selection

Proposals are evaluated on the sole criterion of scientific excellence.

The assessment and selection process are divided into two steps.

Step 1: The foundation's research committee on 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 subjected to external peer review and the applicants are invited for an interview. After the interview the committee will recommend a number of full projects and initiation projects to be granted by the board.

  • 10 October 2019 at 14:00: Deadline for applications
  • 22 December 2019: Rejection or information about the further process
  • February 2020: Interview of full project applicants
  • March 2020: Rejection or approval of grant
  • 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.
  • Application. Up to five pages for initiation projects and 10 pages for full projects. No further guidelines are supplied, however the assessment criteria are presented in the terms of reference which can be downloaded below.
  • CV and publication list for each main applicant. Max. two page CV + publication list from the last 10 years submitted as one document per applicant.
  • Budget form.
  • Letter of support from the host department.

Ready to submit your application?

Deadline is 10 October 2019 at 14.00

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