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Challenge Programme 2022 – Immunity at Mucosal Surfaces

Call opens
15 June 2021
Call closes
27 October 2021 2:00pm (CET)
Announcement of results
Stage 1: December 2021
Stage 2: June 2022
Recurring calls
New Challenge Themes Expected in 2022
Application guidelines

About the grant


DKK 30-60 million per grant



Career stage

Research Leaders (Established/Prof.), Research Leaders (junior/non-tenured), Research Leaders (Mid-career/Associate Prof.)


For grant inquiries
Jens Peter Holst Lauritsen
Scientific Manager, PhD
+45 3067 4848 [email protected]
Eugenia Krasnopjorova
Grant Manager
+45 4126 6120 [email protected]


The purpose of the NNF Challenge Programme is to make substantial contribution to the development and strengthening of the Danish research environment, within research aimed to solve major challenges in global health, technology and sustainability. The Challenge Programme supports excellent researchers, that will establish and collaborate in a dynamic centre structure with a unifying vision and mission. The Programme provides long-term funding to enable scientific depth and focus and facilitate synergy between the research partners.

Research Theme 2022

The programme is a strategic effort targeting specific challenges within annually selected research themes. For the 2022 application call, the Challenge Programme is seeking to support the following research theme:

  • Immunity at Mucosal Surfaces

With the overall aim of translating knowledge of the mucosal immune system into novel treatments of disease, the challenge is to develop procedures that safely induce long-lasting protection against pathogens via unspecific immune responses at mucosal surfaces, or that maintain tolerance towards innocuous agents. Applications should focus on the immune system and have a translational scope. Interdisciplinary collaboration is strongly encouraged.

Non-excluding examples include programs seeking to:

  • Develop safe unspecific immune-boosting therapies at mucosal surfaces against pathogens.
  • Exploit the communication between distal compartments of the mucosal immune system to develop new treatment of diseases such as asthma and allergies.
  • Develop novel therapies against diseases where mucosal immunological tolerance against commensal bacteria and innocuous antigens is broken, e.g. inflammatory bowel disease and allergies.


The Challenge Programme supports excellent research leaders from 2-4 research groups (main applicant plus 1-3 co-applicants).

The programme leader should be at least 75% employed at a Danish university, hospital or other non-profit research organization, that will be considered the host institution of the project.

The research institutions of the co-applicants can be located in Denmark or abroad. The co-applicants should contribute significantly to the advancement of the project and should receive part of the funding.

Industry collaboration is possible, however, funding cannot be awarded to the industrial partner(s).


Each Challenge Programme application can request funding for up to approximately DKK 10 million per year for 6 years, for a total budget of DKK 30-60 million.

Application process

The application process will consist of two stages.

Stage 1: A short expression of interest will be evaluated by an international expert committee. The best applicants will be invited to submit a Stage 2 application.

Stage 2: An application with a detailed project proposal. The main applicant will be invited for interview with the international committee.

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


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