Challenge Programme 2020 – Life Science Research Promoting Sustainability

Open for applications on
2019, 2pm (CET)
Award amount:
DKK 30-60 million per grant available for granting
Announcement of results:
Round 1: March 2020

Round 2: October 2020


With the Challenge Programme the Novo Nordisk Foundation wishes to contribute to the development and strengthening of the Danish research environment within biomedicine, life science research promoting sustainability and the natural and technical sciences. The Challenge Programme focuses on in-depth research on specific challenges within annually selected research themes.

Research Themes 2020 – Life Science Research Promoting Sustainability

Through two independent 2020 application rounds, the Challenge Programme within the Life Science Research Promoting Sustainability is seeking to support outstanding scientists working within the following themes:

  • Biodiversity and productivity of managed ecosystems
  • The microbial secretome and the plant cell wall

The research must be in-depth and can be cross-disciplinary, and should not be considered limited to any specific research methodology or discipline.


The Challenge Programme supports excellent scientists from 2-4 research groups. The leader of one group is the main applicant for the application. Based on a common mission and vision, the research project must explore an important research question within the theme.

The scientific disciplines of the research groups are not restricted. The main applicant and host institution must be anchored in Denmark.


Each Challenge Programme application can request funding for up to 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: An expression of interest will be evaluated by an international expert committee. The applicants for the highest rated applications will be invited to submit a Stage 2 application.

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

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

Dina Petranovic Nielsen
Senior Scientific Officer, PhD
+45 7730 1597
Anastassia Khrouchtchova
Scientific Officer, PhD
+45 3527 6675

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