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Ascending Investigator grants for research within Plant Science, Agriculture and Food Biotechnology – Nordic Region

Call opens
2 November 2020
Call closes
6 January 2021 2:00pm (CET)
Announcement of results
May 2022
Recurring calls
Expected November 2022
Application guidelines


The Novo Nordisk Foundation wishes to make significant contributions to the sustainability of society and the environment. The Ascending Investigator grant supports the continued development and consolidation of excellent research leaders within plant science, agriculture and food biotechnology in the Nordic countries.

The proposed research should address major challenges within plant-, agricultural- and food science associated with developing sustainable agriculture and food production. There should be a clear and strategic outlook to improve sustainability and provide high-impact solutions at a large scale.

The proposed research must involve a clear element of biotechnology*, have an outlook to scaling potential(s) while contributing to productivity and sustainability. The research projects should preferably include one or more of the following topics:

  • Plants with increased productivity, resiliency, nutritional content and/or resource-use efficiency
  • Development of plants for food, fibre, fuels, materials, chemicals and carbon storage
  • Biological approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture
  • Biological approaches supporting productivity and resiliency of agricultural production
  • Fundamental research within sustainable foods and food processing
  • Functionality and the associated structures of food components
  • Data science promoting research within plant science, agriculture and food biotechnology

The program does not support:

  • Research focusing on livestock, livestock commodities and feed.
  • Research with a main component within nutritional uptake and metabolic effects of specific foods.

Projects with a focus on pharmaceuticals and therapeutics should submit their application to the Novo Nordisk Foundation Committee on Bioscience and Basic Biomedicine.

*For the biotechnology requirement, the OECD short definition of biotechnology will be used as a reference for assessments. The OECD single definition of biotechnology is: the application of science and technology to living organisms, as well as parts, products and models thereof, to alter living or non-living materials for the production of knowledge, goods and services.

About the grant


Up to DKK 10 mio. per grant


Denmark, Nordic Countries (excl. Denmark)

Career stage

Research Leaders (Mid-career/Associate Prof.)

Research area focus

Biotechnology-based Synthesis and Production, Data Science


Committee on Plant Science, Agriculture and Food Biotechnology


For grant inquiries
Anastassia Khrouchtchova
Scientific Manager, PhD
+45 41727929 [email protected]
Sisse Marquina-Jongberg
Senior Scientific Lead, PhD
+45 7242 2557 [email protected]
Camilla Stensgaard Andersson
Grant Manager
[email protected]


Faculty members and researchers at the associate professor level or with similar qualifications (e.g. senior assistant professor or senior researcher) with an independent research program at a university or other non-profit research institution in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden are eligible to apply for the Ascending Investigator grant.


Grants can support research activities for a total budget of up to DKK 10 million over a 5-year grant period.

Grant funding is available for:

  • Salary for the applicant
  • Salary for employees
  • PhD tuition fee
  • Operating expenses
  • Bench fee
  • Equipment
  • Conferences participation
  • Travel
  • Publication costs
  • Direct administrative expenses

Application process

Applications must be completed and submitted using the online system following the instructions in the “Information and guidelines for applicants”. Additional essential information regarding eligibility, funding and the application process is found in this pdf.

Click here to see a list of previous Grant recipients.


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