Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme

Open for applications on
2019, 2pm (CET)
Award amount:
Up to DKK 15 million per grant available for granting
Announcement of results:
December 2019


With the Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme, the Novo Nordisk Foundation seeks to support research projects across disciplines, organizations and national borders, in order to resolve novel interdisciplinary challenges in relation to the Foundation’s core science areas.

The goals of the research programme are:

  • Pursue creative and novel, high-risk/high-gain interdisciplinary research ideas
  • Provide long-term support of such novel interdisciplinary research ideas
  • Stimulate an emerging interdisciplinary research culture that spans across scientific disciplines and techniques
  • Break down or overcome the barriers that exist between the different disciplines
  • Strengthen and internationalize Danish research


The project should be based on a novel research idea, where the interdisciplinary challenges are at the centre. Such a novel interdisciplinary research direction is characterized by high-risk/high-gain elements and for the present call the proposal must ideally be founded on preliminary data that provides evidence of the feasibility of the idea. The overall goal of the project phase must be to build on these early results to consolidate the novel interdisciplinary research direction. If at the application stage no early data exists, the applicant is encouraged to consider the Exploratory Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme.

The definition of novel, interdisciplinary research, which is targeted here, is collaboration across scientific and technical disciplines, that do not normally take place. In other words, research that could be supported via any other grant in the Novo Nordisk Foundation, should not be submitted to this call.

It is a requirement that the project aims to be truly interdisciplinary, and that the program leader in the application clearly states its timeliness and appropriateness, and how the synergy will be catalysed between the involved partners.

The individual research project must have a main applicant, who is anchored in Denmark, plus 1-3 co-applicants, who each represent different scientific or technical disciplines. The research projects must bring researchers from different scientific and/or technical disciplines together to resolve challenges in relation to the core science areas of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Research areas

Research funded under this programme must aim at interdisciplinary approaches to resolve challenges in relation to the core science areas: Biomedical and health science research and applications, Life science research and industrial applications promoting sustainability, Natural and technical science research and interdisciplinarity, and Patient-centred and research-based care.

The research projects must bring researchers from different scientific and/or technical disciplines together to resolve challenges in relation to the above-mentioned science areas. Examples of disciplines could be; engineering, IT/computer science, medicine, mathematics, anthropology, physics, psychology, biology etc.

A project with co-applicants within the same discipline will generally not be considered interdisciplinary under this programme, and optimally, there should be one applicant/co-applicant from each of the disciplines described in the application.


Up to DKK 3.75 million per year can be requested for a project running over 4 years, for a total funding of up to DKK 15 million per project. The total budget for this call is DKK 75 million.

Selection process

The proposals are first evaluated by the committee. Up to 10 proposals are then selected for international, external peer review assessment, to the extent possible using experts in each of the main scientific disciplines of the application. Following the receipt of the peer reviews, the committee will make the final evaluation.

It is essential to note that the applications will not be evaluated on absolute feasibility, as projects that are high risk/high gain are encouraged.


The committee of Interdisciplinary Research will evaluate the applications.

Please read “Information and Guidelines for Applicants” carefully before initiating the application process. Additional and essential information is found in these guidelines.

Recurring call

The Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme will open again April 2020.

Committee on Interdisciplinary Research
Morten Bache
Senior Scientific Officer, PhD, Dr. Techn.
+45 7730 1560
Kamilla Nørregaard
Scientific Officer, PhD
+45 3527 6522