Ascending Investigator – Research within biotechnology-based synthesis & production – Nordic region

Application opens
2019, 2pm (CET)
Award amount:
Up to DKK 10 mio. per grant available for granting
Announcement of results:
Medio april 2019



With this call for applications, the Novo Nordisk Foundation seeks to support the continued development and consolidation of biotechnology research leaders as well as promote research at a high international level in the Nordic countries. These Ascending Investigator grants are for outstanding principal investigators with the ability to lead larger and more challenging studies. The grants fund excellent and ambitious biotechnology research projects aimed at generating products in improved and more sustainable ways.


  • The applicant must, at the time of application, be employed as an:
    associate professor, senior researcher or assistant professor (or an equivalent to one of these positions).
  • The applicant must already have her or his own research group.
  • The applicant is expected to have a strong publication record for the career stage that includes peer-reviewed research articles demonstrating research leadership and independence.
  • As a general rule, the applicant must have received her/his PhD or equivalent degree within 7 to 15 years of the application deadline (leave of absence excluded). For the eligibility of an applicant who received her/his PhD-level degree outside of this period to be considered, the applicant must explain in the application why s/he is an Ascending Investigator.
  • The project must be based at a university or other non-profit research institution in a Nordic country (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden). During the grant period, the grant recipient’s primary employment and principal research group must be at the Nordic host institution.
  • The full list of eligibility requirements is found in the ‘Information and guidelines for applicants’.

Research fields

These grants support fundamental and applied research projects. They must involve a clear element of biotechnology, and may in addition utilize any other scientific and engineering discipline relevant to achieve the objectives. Projects should include one or more of the following topics:

  • Use or engineering of biological tools and systems for synthesis and production of valuable products (for example, chemicals, fuels, bioactive compounds, proteins, materials as well as fibre, food and feed products).
  • Development of technologies and processes that can directly support biotechnology-based synthesis and production.
  • Improvement of the production potential of microorganisms, plants, animals, or enzymes.
  • Biotechnology to improve raw material utilization, reduce energy consumption and/or decrease waste generation.

Projects must contain a laboratory component and show a clear and plausible path from the proposed research to applications in the area of biotechnology-based synthesis and production.


The Novo Nordisk Foundation will award up to 4 of these grants in 2019.

The 5-year grants can be up to DKK 10 million each, with funding at approximately DKK 2 million per year.

The expenses that be funded by this Ascending Investigator grant are found in the ‘Information and guidelines for applicants’.

Application process

Applications must be completed and submitted using the NNF’s application system following the instructions in the ‘Information and guidelines for applicants’ pdf. Additional essential information regarding eligibility and funding as well as the application instructions are found in this pdf.

Committee on Biotechnology-based Synthesis and Production Research
John Peter Wittschieben
Senior Scientific Officer
+45 3527 6613

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