Exploratory Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme

Exploratory Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme

Open for applications on
2019, 2pm (CET)
Award amount:
Up to 5 million DKK per grant available for granting
Announcement of results:
December 2019

Recurring call

March 2020


With the Exploratory Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme, the Novo Nordisk Foundation seeks to support research projects across disciplines, organizations and national borders, in order to resolve 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
  • Support early-stage attempts at attacking such novel interdisciplinary research ideas
  • Stimulate an emerging interdisciplinary culture of research that spans across scientific disciplines and techniques
  • Break down or overcome the barriers that exist between the different disciplines
  • Strengthen and internationalize Danish research.


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 the goal of the present programme is to test these ideas to generate the preliminary data that provides evidence of the feasibility of the approach as well as a direction for a more complex and expanded project stage. Following the conclusion of this exploratory programme, the applicant may choose to apply for the full Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme. It must be noted, however, that it is not a requirement to pass through the exploratory stage before considering an application for the full Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme.

The definition of novel, interdisciplinary research, which is targeted here, is collaboration across scientific and technical disciplines, that does not normally take place. In other words, research that could be supported via any other grant in the Novo Nordisk Foundation, should not be submitted to this call.

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.

The individual research project must have a main applicant, who is anchored in Denmark, plus 1-3 co-applicants, who each represent different scientific or technical disciplines. The research projects must bring researchers from different scientific and/or technical disciplines together to resolve challenges in relation to the core science areas of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Research areas

Research funded under this programme must aim at interdisciplinary approaches to resolve challenges in relation to the core science areas: Biomedical and health science research and applications, Life science research and industrial applications promoting sustainability, Natural and technical science research and interdisciplinarity, and Patient-centred and research-based care.

The research projects must bring researchers from different scientific and/or technical disciplines together to resolve challenges in relation to the above-mentioned science areas. Examples of disciplines could be; engineering, IT/computer science, medicine, mathematics, anthropology, physics, psychology, biology etc.

A project with co-applicants within the same discipline will generally not be considered interdisciplinary under this programme, and optimally, there should be one applicant/co-applicant from each of the disciplines described in the application.


Up to DKK 2.5 million per year can be requested for a project running up to 2 years, for a total funding of up to DKK 5 million per project. The total budget for this call is DKK 50 million.

Selection process

The proposals are read and evaluated by the committee, who will make the final evaluation.

It is essential that the applications are not 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 Exploratory Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme will open again March 2020.

Committee on Interdisciplinary Research
Morten Bache
Senior Scientific Officer, PhD, Dr. Techn.
+45 7730 1560
Kamilla Nørregaard
Scientific Officer, PhD
+45 3527 6522