VILLUM FONDEN funds early career researchers at Danish universities. Researchers with ambitions of creating their own, independent research identity.

The Villum Young Investigator Programme funds particularly talented young researchers in the technical and natural sciences. The applicants must have a clearly defined goal for their research for a period of five years and the project must be of a scale that requires the establishment of a research team. For Danish universities and research institutions, this is also a recruitment tool to attract talented researchers outside Denmark.

The programme is announced once a year in open competition with a deadline in June.

Grant amount
You can apply for DKK 7-10 million, incl. 15% for indirect costs. A large part of the funding typically covers the appointment of PhD’s and postdocs recruited to the research team. A total of DKK 150 million is allocated for the programme in 2019.

Time frame
The grant is awarded once only, and the time frame is five years.

Evaluation process
The duration will be approx. eight months from April to December.

Application process - Villum Young Investigator:

Important dates in 2019

  • 8 April 2019: Announcement of the call
  • 18 June 2019 at 12:00 noon: Deadline for applications
  • 31 October 2019: Rejection or invitation for an interview in November
  • 13, 14 and 15 November 2019: Interviews with the selected applicants
  • 22 December 2019: Rejection or approval of grant

Rejected applicants will have the opportunity to call Head of Programme Michel M.H. Kristensen at +45 2941 7889 between 4 November and 8 November 2019 or between 26 November and 29 November 2019 to have a brief conversation regarding their applications and why they were not invited for an interview.

Who can apply?
Applicants must have 2-8 years of research experience since completion of their PhD’s. Leave of absence will be considered.

You are not eligible... 

... when offered a Villum Young Investigator Grant if you have already received an ERC Starting Grant, Sapere Aude Research Leader Grant, Novo Nordisk Hallas-Møller Investigator Grant, Carlsberg Foundation Distinguished Fellowships or similar grant targeting young promising research leaders for establishing their own research group and profile.

For further information see call below.

The applicants are typically experienced postdocs, assistant professors or associate professors. Associate professors must have less than two years of tenure as Associate Professors.

You can apply even if you have previously received a rejection of your application. It is crucial that you attach a letter of support from the institution. In the letter of support the institution must confirm that they see this as an obvious career opportunity for you and that they will be committed to the task.

When a decision is made between two equally qualified applicants, the candidate with a tenure track faculty position or similar will be preferred. 

Please find latest call below:

Villum Young Investigator 2019

Application deadline was 18 June 2019 at 12.00.

Join a community

Our Villum Young Investigator can join a community of like-minded and attend in 1-2 seminars each year on topics like e.g. recruitment, research management, etc.

21 new Villum Young Investigators 2019

Evaluation of the programme

An evaluation of Villum Young Investigator Programme shows that the programme makes a difference and contributes to boosting the young researchers' careers

Meet two Villum Young Investigators

Nina Lock, Villum Young Investigator 2014

Sune Lehmann, Villum Young Investigator 2012

Villum Young Investigator committee 


Applicants to VILLUM FONDEN’s Young Investigators Programme are reviewed by a newly established committee tasked with identifying the best-qualified applicants.

Villum young investigator committee
  • Dorte Juul Jensen, Professor, DTU MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, Technical University of Denmark (chair)
  • Bart de Moor, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • Charlotte Fløe Kristjansen, Professor, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen
  • Owen Lewis, Professor, Brasenose College, University of Oxford
  • Susanne Mandrup, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark
  • Helmut Bölcskei, Professor, Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering and Department of Mathematics, ETH
  • Jenny Emnéus, Professor, DTU NANOTECH, Technical University of Denmark
  • Bo Elberling, Professor, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen
  • Duncan Sutherland, Professor, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center, Aarhus University

Any questions, please contact:

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