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Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme

Call opens
25 March 2021
Call closes
11 June 2021 2:00pm (CET)
Announcement of results
December 2021
Recurring calls
10 March 2022
Application guidelines


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

About the grant


Up to DKK 15 million per grant



Career stage

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

Research area focus

Bioscience and Basic Biomedicine, Biotechnology-based Synthesis and Production, Clinical and Translational Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism


Committee on Interdisciplinary Research


For grant inquiries
Kamilla Nørregaard
Senior Scientific Manager, PhD
+45 4172 7946

Please note that the deadline is 11 June, at 2 p.m., and not 10 June as stated in the guidelines


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 has potential for disruptive science and development of entirely new research areas. The definition of interdisciplinary research, which is targeted here, is collaboration across scientific and technical disciplines and where the researchers may not have a common language. It is important that the collaboration is not just founded on adding methods from one research field to another but strives to synergistically combine theories, methods, and concepts from different fields to arrive at new results of broad interest.

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.

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.

Research areas

Research funded under this programme must aim at reaching novel insight through interdisciplinary approaches to resolve complex challenges in relation to the Novo Nordisk Foundation core science areas:

  • Basic biomedical research, clinical research and health science research
  • Life science research, biotechnology and industrial applications promoting sustainability
  • Natural and technical sciences research with potential applications in biomedicine or biotechnology

If the application falls inside the Natural and technical sciences area, the applicant must explain in the application text how the topic has potential applications to biomedicine, health sciences or biotechnology.

The programme supports 2-4 research groups (the main applicant plus 1-3 co-applicants). A project with all co-applicants within the same discipline/institutional department will generally not be considered interdisciplinary under this programme. Optimally, there will be one applicant/co-applicant from each of the disciplines described in the application. Of note, disciplines do not refer to the education or formal position of the applicants, but rather their ongoing work expertise. Furthermore, the interdisciplinary consortium forming the application does not have to be new, the researchers may already have established interdisciplinary research directions together.


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 decision.

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 March 2022.


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