Apply for grants

Novo Nordisk Foundation awards start packages for the first time – strengthening Denmark’s universities in the competition for recruiting the best brains

Five talented researchers are moving to Denmark to continue their careers. The researchers have been selected by universities in Denmark and have each received a start package grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The purpose of these grants is to strengthen the competitiveness of Denmark’s universities in recruiting uniquely talented researchers who will contribute to develop and promote research in Denmark in important fields.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded DKK 24.4 million for five grants through its new Start Package grant programme.

The programme enables research institutions in Denmark to apply for funding to establish a research group centred around a newly recruited researcher and for such expenses as relocation and establishment of a laboratory.

“With the start packages, we want to increase the competitiveness of Denmark’s research institutions in attracting talented and top researchers. Start packages are an internationally recognized instrument for attracting the best researchers and it is important that Denmark’s research institutions also have this tool available in the international competition for the best brains. This will bring new research fields to Denmark and promote the quality and internationalization of the existing research communities in Denmark,” says Lene Oddershede, Senior Vice President, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The Foundation has awarded the five Start Package grants for recruiting primarily talented young researchers, all of whom have achieved impressive results at some of the world’s best universities, such as in the United States and Switzerland. The researchers bring valuable competencies, know-how and networks within their respective fields.

The five grant recipients:

  • Jichen Zhu, Associate Professor, receives a grant of DKK 3.2 million and is moving from Drexel University in the United States to the IT University of Copenhagen.
  • Vivek Shende, Professor, receives a grant of DKK 6 million and is moving from the University of California, Berkeley in the United States to the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Southern Denmark.
  • Daniel Teichmann, Associate Professor, receives a grant of DKK 6 million and is moving from RWTH Aachen University in Germany to the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, University of Southern Denmark.
  • Zsolt István, Associate Professor, receives a grant of almost DKK 3.2 million and is moving from the Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies in Spain to the IT University of Copenhagen.
  • Dmitriy Traytel, Associate Professor, receives a grant of almost DKK 6 million and is moving from ETH Zurich in Switzerland to the Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen.

Developing new solutions
The grant recipients conduct research in important fields that influence the development of new solutions that benefit society, such as in biomedicine and the health sciences, or research focusing on sustainability and research in the natural and technical sciences.

For example, the IT University of Copenhagen has strengthened its capacity and international network within artificial intelligence by recruiting Jichen Zhu. She is an expert in human-centered artificial intelligence, which is technology based on interactions between humans and software. Through interdisciplinary collaborations, she will develop health technology solutions such as digital games and intelligent apps that enable cutting-edge personalized treatment of people with diabetes and other diseases.

Similarly, the University of Southern Denmark has recruited Daniel Teichmann, a researcher with expertise in sensor development and signal processing, to strengthen the University’s strategic activities within health technology innovations for medical and clinical use. Interdisciplinary approaches will also be crucial here for developing instruments and sensors that, integrated with physiological information, can be used to monitor patients at home using wearable devices.

The five researchers’ grants run over 4 years and are the first to be awarded through the Start Package grant programme, to which the Foundation has allocated a total of DKK 140 million. The call for applications is open all year and grants are awarded four times per year, with a quarterly submission deadline.

Applicants will be informed of the outcome within 4–5 weeks following the relevant deadline. Read more here.

Further information

Kamilla Nørregaard, Scientific Manager, +45 4172 7946,

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, Communications, +45 3067 4805,