VELUX FONDEN makes grants to research in the humanities as part of its philanthropic activities.

The foundation awards free research funds primarily in order to promote group projects focusing on basic research at the highest academic level at Danish universities and cultural institutions.

We make grants to projects in all humanities subjects, as well as closely related social-science fields, including anthropology, psychology, sociology, political science and some aspects of public health. We also make grants to multi-disciplinary projects involving the humanities and other sciences.

In other to ensure that the grants have the largest and longest-term impact, we stress that strategy development and the procedure leading up a grant being awarded take place in close dialogue with the relevant research institutes at Danish universities and cultural institutions.

As a result, most of the grants are made through programmes in which research institutes, working with their regular network of partners, are normally invited to submit letters of interest. These funds can be applied for by invitation only. A small portion of the funds are available to be awarded to unsolicited applicants.

The value of the humanities

Humanities research takes up key questions about humanity, culture, history, cognition, language, communication and society. This learning is disseminated and spread widely throughout Danish society. In addition to being of interest to individuals, it contributes both the learning and critical thinking necessary for an informed democracy, culture, education, commerce, the press, public discourse, consultancy and policymaking.

Moreover, there is an increasing recognition that the major issues of the day, including the environment, resource consumption, health, social welfare, work and competitiveness, cannot be addressed solely in terms of technical or economic approaches. Doing so also requires an understanding of the decisive role played by ‘human factors’ in problems as well as solutions. Here too the humanities can contribute important insights together with other fields of science and social science.

Realising these social benefits requires, however, that the humanities are supported and strengthened in a broad and sustainable manner. This includes free research seeking to address long-term, fundamental issues. This type of research makes it possible to ask fundamental questions and come up with new ideas. The humanities themselves also move into new directions in society and in relation to other sciences.

The foundation’s grants are therefore made based on individual projects’ intrinsic value, their value for their humanities research institute and their value in a more fundamental way for the long-term development and strengthening of the role of humanities and their importance in society.


The foundation’s humanities focus has resulted in various programmes, initiatives and instruments. All of these revolve around the goal of promoting free research at the highest level, and to do it in close dialogue with research institutes at Danish universities and culture institutions.

Humanities and praxis

The "human factor" plays a vital role in many of society's large challenges and possible solutions to these challenges.

Focusing on research in the humanities VELUX FONDEN will seek to promote equal collaborations between researchers and partners within its social projects, gerontology or environment programmes, which are all important funding areas in the foundation's non-profit and philanthropic work. 

There are no current calls. 

In the process surrounding grant allocation, a number of the best letters of interest are invited to submit full applications. For each application, two external peer reviews will be obtained. The grant maximum is EUR 4 million (DKK 30 million). 

More information about the HUMpraxis programme

Core group programme

This programme is aimed at humanities institutes at Danish universities and was created after we took the initiative to open a dialogue about their needs and suggestions.

A core group is a group of researchers working together, typically a tenured senior researcher leading two or three post-doctoral students and/or PhD students, working together for a three-year period.

The aim of the programme is:

  • to strengthen the growth layer of research
  • to promote group research in the humanities
  • to offer a medium-sized grant form (between individual project and centres) that in the overall national and international research funding ecosystem can serve as stepping stones to large grants from elsewhere
  • to provide synergies to institutions’ research plans and objectives, and by extension, returns during instruction.

Every year, institutions in the foundation’s network of partners are invited to submit letters of interest about core group projects. The foundation works closely with the research institutions to select projects that are invited to apply. The aim is to involve the institutions’ own knowledge of research trends and needs as well as promising new ideas, initiatives and researchers.

Grantees are selected based on the evaluations of external foreign experts. Grants are awarded each September to core group projects conducted at the highest academic level.

Unsolicited applications for programme funds are not accepted.

Museum programme

In close collaboration with the humanities focus, the foundation has initiated its museum initiative. This was designed in close dialogue with the museums’ own suggestions and needs.

The goal is:

  • to strengthen the integration of museums’ research and outreach efforts
  • to improve co-operation, networking and exchanges between museum researchers and outreach professionals and university researchers, and
  • to contribute to efforts to communicate humanities research to a broader public through engaging, powerful and modern communication forms.

We support independent projects organised as a collaborative effort between researchers and outreach professionals, and which closely integrate the work of both. Grant award areas include art and cultural history, communication and museum sciences.

A call for letters of interest is made annually. Selected projects are invited to submit a full application. Applicants compete for grants on a competitive basis. Grants are awarded based on individual, external and international peer evaluations of each application.

MetaHum initiative

The foundation has taken the initiative to establish multi-disciplinary research projects necessary to carry out a thorough mapping and analysis of the current state of the humanities and the developments at the interfaces with other sciences and areas of society.

The goal is:

  • to use research to further our understanding of the humanities and its academic, theoretical and methodological development and multi-disciplinary opportunities
  • to make the role and importance of the humanities in society more visible to a wider public, and
  • to provide a knowledge base for the foundation’s strategic work with this initiative.

Projects are developed by the foundation in collaboration with relevant researchers towards invited applications that are evaluated by external foreign experts.

Other projects

In addition to the programmes and initiatives mentioned above, the foundation may also support group projects, both on the basis of solicited and unsolicited applications, based on the foundation’s dialogue with the researchers.

The foundation has reserved a small amount of funding for innovative multi-disciplinary projects involving the humanities and other sciences. These funds can be awarded to unsolicited project applications and to projects developed in dialogue with the foundation or invited to apply by the research institutes.

In principle, it is possible to submit other unsolicited group humanities project applications (unsolicited letters of interest are not accepted). Such applications are unlikely to be selected for grants, since they will be competing for the foundation’s unassigned funding, which are not specifically reserved for the humanities programme.

Examples of granted projects

'Our museum'

Article about a four-year national research and development project on innovative and digital museum mediation.

The battle for Food 1914-1918

A research and mediation project.

The Robot revolution

Article about the new field of research: 'Robophilosophy' supported by VELUX FONDEN

Word clues to prehistoric Europe

VELUX FONDEN has made a DKK 6,115,032 grant to this research project.


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