Data Science Investigator – Ascending 2021

Data Science Investigator – Ascending 2021

Biomedicine and health sciences
And 2 more
Place of research
Up to DKK 10 million per grant
Recurring call
December 2021
Call opens
2021, 2 pm (CET)
How to apply Apply
Call opens
21 Dec 2020
09 Mar 2021, 2 pm (CET)
How to apply
Up to DKK 10 million per grant
Announcement of results:
September 2021


The Data Science Investigator Programme targets principal investigators at three different career stages – Emerging, Ascending and Distinguished.

The purpose of the ‘Data Science Emerging Investigator’ grant is to support excellent and independent Associate Professors with ambitious projects within data science, which:

  • lead to new or improved core data science algorithms, methods and technologies,
  • explore and expand data science applications to real-world scientific problems within the scope of the NNF Data Science Initiative (see Areas of Support).

The Ascending Investigator grant is intended for excellent and independent Associate Professors (or equivalent) who are senior group leaders and have the ambition and potential to rise to the highest international level within their research fields. Less senior group leaders should apply to the Emerging Investigator Programme, and professors to the Distinguished Investigator programme. 

Part of the NNF Data Science Initiative 

The Data Science Investigator Programme is one of 4 pillars of the NNF Data Science Initiative, through which the Foundation aims to strengthen the Danish academic research environment within data science and artificial intelligence, as well as support the education and training of the next generation of data scientists. 

Other calls in open competition include the Data Science Research Infrastructure Programme and the Data Science Collaborative Research Programme. In addition, an academy for data science, with the purpose of establishing a network and distributing fellowships, is under design.

Areas of support

The research proposal must be linked to ongoing research and be within the scope of the NNF Data Science Initiative: 

  1. Development of new algorithms, methods and technologies within data science, artificial intelligence (incl. machine learning and deep learning), data engineering, data mining, statistics, applied math, computer science, big data analytics, etc. 
  2. Applications of data science (as defined above) within the Foundation’s core scientific areas: Biomedical and health science, life science and industrial applications promoting sustainability, as well as natural and technical sciences with potential application in biotechnology or biomedicine.

For projects mainly concerned with data science methods development, it is important that the applicants clearly show the relevance for potential future application and impact within life science, health science, or biotechnology. Vice versa, projects which have their primary focus on application of data science methods must describe and explain the novelty and impact of their data science approach, be it development of novel methods or novel applications of existing methods.


  • Applicants should be associate professors (or equivalent). Applications from assistant professors, researchers or people in similar research positions will be considered if the application meet all the other requirements in this call. Ideally, after their PhD degree, applicants should have approximately 7-15 years of subsequent research experience. Full Professors, including MSO, cannot apply for this particular call but are encouraged to apply as ‘Distinguished Investigators’ instead. 
  • The applicant must be an active data science researcher who, during the project, will conduct and direct independent research within the field of data science. 
  • The project must be anchored at a university or other non-profit research institution in Denmark. Applicants must, during the project, be employed in Denmark and have their research group based in Denmark. Only minor and time-limited affiliations with institutions abroad are exceptionally allowed, as the grant is intended for ‘full-time’ researchers (teaching obligations included) based in Denmark.
  • Recipients of this grant must contribute to data-science related courses in the pre-graduate teaching environment at their host institution and/or at other institutions in Denmark. 


Each grant can be up to DKK 10 million, for a period of five years.

The total grant capital in 2021 is DKK 60 million across the Emerging, Ascending, and Distinguished Data Science Investigator Programmes. 

Application to other NNF programmes

It is possible for researchers to apply (as either a main or co-applicant) for each of the different data science calls under the NNF Data Science Initiative, but: 

  • The applicant must indicate which other submitted proposals includes her/him as a main or co-applicant
  • The applications should not be contingent on each other 
  • Any overlap in project description should be indicated clearly  

In addition, dual submission for other “Investigator grants” in 2021 in other NNF committees is not allowed, and concurrent submission for the NERD, Start Package and RECRUIT programmes is not allowed either 

Application process 

The application must be completed and submitted using the foundation’s application system NORMA that can be accessed via the link “Apply now”.  

Please read “Information and Guidelines for Applicants” carefully before initiating the application process. The Guidelines provide essential information on the call and the application content and process.