The Novo Nordisk Foundation is renewing its support for research infrastructure. Longer grant period and two new funding programmes provide increased opportunities to strengthen Danish research communities within the natural and technical sciences, health sciences and biotechnology.
Since 2018, the Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded more than DKK 600 million (€80m) in grants to establish research infrastructure in Denmark.
The Foundation will continue its support for this area by providing up to DKK 160 million (€21m) annually for the next five years, in total up to DKK 800 million (€107m). In addition, new funding opportunities are launched. The new initiatives will strengthen the use of advanced research infrastructure, increase the sustainability of research infrastructure and enable the development of new, innovative technologies. These initiatives will benefit researchers at public research institutions as well as in industry.
“The Novo Nordisk Foundation’s research infrastructure programme meets a strong demand for funding of large, high-quality research infrastructures in Denmark. However, when we recently evaluated our support and mapped the research infrastructure landscape, we discovered that we could make some adjustments to improve support for these research communities. Funding opportunities were especially lacking for researchers who want to develop new technology as well as to upgrade and extend the lifetime of essential scientific equipment. We have therefore decided to introduce some new initiatives to better accommodate the needs of Danish research communities,” says Lene Oddershede, Senior Vice President, Natural and Technical Sciences, Novo Nordisk Foundation.
The Foundation will now offer three funding programmes, which focus on strengthening research infrastructure:
- Research Infrastructure Programme
- Equipment Upgrade Programme
- Exploratory Research Instrumentation Programme
Researchers within the natural and technical sciences, health sciences and biotechnology can apply for grants from the three programmes. A new addition is that academic technical personnel (AC-TAP) with a PhD degree and experience with the proposed type of infrastructure can apply for these grants.
Two new funding opportunities and an extended grant period
The grant period for the existing Research Infrastructure Programme is being extended to six years to fully embed the expensive research infrastructure in the user environment and thus create more value for the investment.
The expected lifespan of advanced research infrastructure often exceeds 10 years if maintained and upgraded. The first new funding opportunity, the Equipment Upgrade Programme, aims to upgrade research infrastructure towards the end of the grant period. This provides an opportunity to extend the lifespan of the infrastructure and is a sustainable alternative to acquisition of new equipment. This programme can solely be applied to extend the lifespan of research infrastructure previously funded in whole or in part by the Foundation.
The second new funding opportunity is the Exploratory Research Instrumentation Programme, which focuses on the early part of the technological value chain: The development of technology from idea to prototype, which may form the basis for future research infrastructure. This Programme allows researchers the opportunity to develop new instruments and methods as well as train the next generation of researchers and technical personnel with this expertise. The Programme bridges traditional basic research and innovation.
Great need for funding to establish research infrastructure in Denmark
From 2018 to 2023, the Foundation awarded grants totalling DKK 628 million (€84.2m) for establishing research infrastructure in Denmark through its Research Infrastructure Programme. Read about the most recent grants here.
The Foundation’s decision to continue and expand support for research infrastructure was informed by an evaluation of the grants awarded from 2018 to 2022. The evaluation also mapped Denmark’s research infrastructure landscape, revealing a very large need for funding research infrastructure in Denmark. The evaluation also shows that it is a general challenge for researchers and universities to obtain funding for research infrastructure.
From 2018 to 2022, the Foundation awarded grants for 35 new advanced research infrastructures. The evaluation shows that 18 of these 35 were fully operational in early 2023, since installation of advanced research infrastructure can take time.
The established research infrastructures have provided access to advanced scientific equipment for diverse user communities and have increased interdisciplinarity.
The research infrastructures have been supported by highly specialised technical personnel who assist the users, improve the infrastructure as well as participate in teaching and dissemination activities.
Foundation funding for research infrastructure in 2024–2028
The Foundation will now offer three funding programmes that contribute to developing, establishing or upgrading research infrastructure. Researchers within natural and technical sciences (including data and computer science), health sciences and biotechnology can apply for grants from these programmes.
Applications for all three programmes are accepted until 11 January 2024.
Exploratory Research Instrumentation Programme
The Exploratory Research Instrumentation Programme supports the development of new research instrumentation from idea to protype for the infrastructure of the future.
The Programme has an annual budget of about DKK 15 million. Applicants can apply for grants of DKK 2 million to DKK 7 million with a grant period of four years.
Research Infrastructure Programme
The Research Infrastructure Programme aims to establish world-class infrastructure that can lay the foundations for innovative research at research institutions in Denmark and in industry. The grants cover both advanced equipment and highly qualified technical personnel to ensure that the infrastructure delivers high-quality results.
The Programme has an annual budget of about DKK 135 million. Applicants can apply for grants of DKK 5 million to DKK 25 million with a grant period of six years.
Equipment Upgrade Programme
The Programme has an annual budget of about DKK 10 million, and applicants can apply for grants of up to DKK 3 million with a grant period of four years to upgrade and extend the lifespan of research infrastructure. Please note that this Programme only provides grants for research infrastructure previously funded in whole or in part by the Foundation through its Research Infrastructure Programme.