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Copenhagen Bioscience PhD programme

Closed for applications


Deadline for applications
Application closes 15 December 2016.


Interview visits in Copenhagen
19-22 March 2017


September 2017


The application round is closed for new applications


The Copenhagen Bioscience PhD programme is a new initiative that offers talented students with a university degree from outside of Denmark an opportunity to launch their careers in the vibrant environment of the Novo Nordisk Foundation research center cluster. Up to sixteen students will be recruited annually through the programme for enrolment in September the same year. For students to be enrolled in September 2017, the programme will be open for applications from October to December 2016.

Students will be selected based on academic achievements, research experience, academic references and interviews. The interviews will take place in Copenhagen in March, 2017. The Novo Nordisk Foundation will pay for travel and accommodation for selected candidates in association with the interview visit.



The four-year programme is divided into a predoctoral year followed by three years of PhD training at one of the Novo Nordisk Foundation research centers (see below).

The first year of the programme includes short rotations, a common course, common seminars and selection of PhD project. All awardees will have to pass an examination at the end of the first year in order to qualify for the following three years of PhD education. You can find more information at the programme website.

Full salary and tuition fee will be covered by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The programme offers the possibility to rent an apartment for the first year, in the city centre of Copenhagen, ranked as the most liveable city in the world, again, in 2016.




  • A fully completed application form submitted via the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s web-based application system before the deadline (link on the left)
  • The applicant must hold, or anticipate receiving before enrolment, a university degree from outside of Denmark that formally qualifies them to enter a PhD or equivalent programme.
  • The programme is also open for applicants with Danish degrees who have at least a year of full-time research experience from outside Denmark.
  • The applicant must provide a minimum of two academic references
  • Proof of English language skills (e.g. TOEFL or GRE scores)
  • All applicants should have lived outside Denmark for a minimum of one year leading up to the programme start date.
  • Applicants should not be resident in Denmark at the time of the application deadline


Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR)

  • Ken Arnold – Public Engagement with Metabolic Research through Exhibitions: Developing Theoretical and Practical Frameworks for Collection and Display
  • Manimozhiyan Arumugam – Systems biology and bioinformatics for studying human microbiome in health and disease
  • Romain Barrès – Molecular bases of epigenetic inheritance of metabolic dysfunction in humans
  • Brice Emanuelli – Exploring the Molecular Mechanisms Controlling Insulin Action and Metabolic Functions
  • Zach Gerhart-Hines – Control of brown and beige adipose metabolism by the body's clock
  • Niels Grarup – Role of the human genome in metabolic health and disease
  • Torben Hansen – Studies of genetics of metabolism in population isolates // The role of the gut-liver axis in development of NAFLD
  • Birgitte Holst – Hypothalamic sensing of nutritional status and regulation of appetite
  • Jens Juul Holst – Translational aspects of obesity and diabetes development and treatment
  • Tuomas Kilpeläinen – Interplay between genetic and lifestyle factors in metabolic health
  • Filip Knop – The integrative role of the gut in human glucose metabolism - physiologic, pathophysiologic and pharmocologic implications
  • Oluf Pedersen – Role of the gut microbiome for human metabolic health
  • Tune Pers – Uncovering neuronal cell types controlling obesity using single-cell transcriptomics
  • Camilla Charlotte Schéele – Disentangling human brown and beige fat at a single cell level
  • Thue Schwartz – Metabolites and Metabolite Receptors as Signaling Drivers of Metabolic Inflammation in Obesity and Diabetes
  • Thorkild Ingvor Arrild Sørensen – Gene-environment interactions in the development of the obesity epidemic // Roles of genes predisposing to adiposity in body weight changes over time
  • Signe Torekov – Potential synergistic effects of GLP-1 analogues and physical exercise on immuno-metabolic health
  • Jonas Thue Treebak – Molecular regulation of nutrient sensing – Importance of cellular NAD metabolism for insulin sensitivity and proper mitochondrial function
  • Henrik Vestergaard – Impact of human gut microbiota and gut-brain signaling on visceral adiposity and pre-diabetes
  • Louise Whiteley – Media Representation of Metabolic Research and the Relationship between Science and Society


Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (CFB)

  • Irina Borodina – Transport proteins for industrial applications
  • Markus Herrgard – Data-driven engineering of cell factories
  • Michael Krogh Jensen – Synthetic biology tools for evolutionary genome engineering
  • Helene Faustrup Kildegaard – Genetic engineering of mammalian cells towards improved therapeutic protein production
  • Ivan Mijakovic – Engineering phosphorylation-controlled transcriptional switches through grafting of kinase interaction domains
  • Alex Toftgaard Nielsen – Optimizing folding and expression of heterologous proteins in metabolic pathways for production of biochemicals in bacteria
  • Lars Nielsen – Modelling complex pathway kinetics using Bayesian sampling
  • Pablo Iván Nikel – Metabolic engineering of environmental bacteria
  • Morten Nørholm – Evolution and protein production in bacteria
  • Morten Sommer – Synthetic biology for characterizing population heterogeneity and phenotypic stability
  • Nikolaus Sonnenschein – Omics-data based cell factory design
  • Tilmann Weber – Cell factory design for antibiotics production
  • Solange I. Mussatto – Inhibitor tolerance and xylose fermentation by Kluyveromyces yeast strains


Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research (CPR)

  • Søren Brunak – Network biology of multi-morbidity patients with more than one disease
  • Chuna Choudhary – Identifying novel regulatory mechanisms through system-wide analysis of signaling networks
  • Julien Duxin – Mechanism of DNA-protein crosslink repair in S-phase
  • Lars Juhl Jensen – Network biology: large-scale biomedical data and text mining
  • Jiri Lukas – Molecular thresholds of signalling pathways that keep our genomes stable
  • Niels Mailand – Functional characterization of DNA damage signaling pathways
  • Matthias Mann – Patient stratification by their plasma proteomes
  • Guillermo Montoya - Structural cell biology of genome editing protein-DNA complexes
  • Michael Lund Nielsen – Characterizing post-translational modifications by quantitative proteomics
  • Jakob Nilsson – Regulation of cell division by protein phosphatases
  • Jesper Olsen – Global analysis of disease signaling pathways by quantitative phosphoproteomics


Novo Nordisk Foundation Section for Basic Stem Cell Biology at the Danish Stem Cell Center (BasicStem at DanStem)

  • Josh Brickman – Regulating the transition from totipotency to pluripotency
  • Elisabetta Ferretti – Role of Pbx proteins in lineage choice and mesodermal competence
  • Anne Grapin-Botton – Single cell choices and community behavior during organogenesis
  • Kristian Helin – Targeting epigenetic enzymes in cancer
  • Elke Ober – Progenitor cell behaviours in zebrafish liver organogenesis and regeneration
  • Ole William Petersen – The cellular origin of human breast cancer
  • Bo Porse – Epigenetic control in normal and malignant hematopoiesis
  • Henrik Semb – How polarity shapes the destiny of stem cells
  • Palle Serup – Integration of Notch Signalling and Lineage Specific Transcription Factors in Organ Patterning
  • Agnete Kirkeby - Modelling human brain development in 3D with stem cells
  • Jakub Sedzinski - From single molecules to forces. A quantitative understanding of epithelial homeostasis at the sub-cellular, cellular and tissue level



For questions about the application process or general questions about the programme (e.g. English proficiency, eligibility criteria, interviews, funding, accommodation):

Amelia Green
Programme Coordinator
+45 35 33 13 22


For questions about the Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Centers (e.g. research areas, scientific projects, center facilities), please contact research coordinators of the centers:

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research
Ditte Bohn
Senior HR Officer
+45 35 33 75 26


Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research
Kateryna Kolkova
Research Coordinator and PhD Coordinator
+45 35 33 36 09


Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability
Susanne Plougheld Winther
Project manager
+45 45 25 80 03


Novo Nordisk Foundation Section for Basic Stem Cell Biology, BasicStem, at the Danish Stem Cell Center, DanStem
Naomi Dayan
Senior Advisor, PhD Coordinator
+45 23 64 90 98