Working towards diversity in technical and natural sciences

There is ample scientific evidence to suggest that diversity within research leads to more creativity and innovation. At VILLUM FONDEN, we seek to support an increasingly diverse and inclusive scientific community within the technical and natural sciences in Danish universities, and we have chosen to focus mainly on addressing female representation.

Hence, we are committed to:

  • Support the ambition to promote gender balance within Danish Science
  • Support the advancement of talented women in university research careers
  • Motivate female researchers to apply for funding to make the pool of potential future applicants more diverse
  • Act on reducing career barriers for female researchers
  • Support initiatives to promote a more inclusive research environment 

The nationwide gender distribution from PhD to full professor follows the scissor shape depicted in the figure above.

National gender distribution from postdoc to full professor is 26 % female researchers and 74 % male researches in the technical and natural sciences. The gender distribution within VILLUM FONDEN is 21 % for female applicants and 19 % for female grantees.  

Our targets

  • The gender distribution among applicants and grantees within our programmes should match the gender distribution in the pool of overall potential applicants
  • Our committees should include at least 30-40% women.

Our initiatives

Below you can find examples of how we actively address our support to a more gender balanced scientific community.

Funding instruments


  • Adjust calls for all programmes, encouraging women to apply, and ensure that the wording of all calls is gender neutral
  • All family related leaves of absence are considered, and the eligibility window is expanded accordingly

Application and evaluation

  • Monitor gender distribution at interviews with applicants
  • Introduce targets for female representation: applicants and share of grantees
  • Introduce targets for female representation in committees, panels and external reviewers
  • Present gender data for selection committees when evaluating proposals
  • Regularly review evaluation procedures to detect gender bias: including inviting external observer to participate in committee meetings when evaluating proposals and setting up specific gender bias guidelines.

Follow up/Monitoring

  • Monitor gender data and targets
  • Introduce gender data on foundation website
  • Discuss gender distribution at follow-up meetings with grantees.

More material on gender balance in research