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Start packages to increase researchers’ mobility and improve the ability of Denmark’s research institutions to attract the best researchers

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has allocated DKK 140 million to a new research programme that aims to increase researchers’ mobility and to make Denmark’s universities and hospitals more competitive in the battle to attract the best researchers to permanent positions.

Denmark’s universities and hospitals often draw the short straw today in international competition for the best researchers. One reason is that these institutions often do not have the money available to offer researchers a start package that can match offers at institutions outside Denmark. Among other things, start packages for researchers recruited to permanent positions enables them to establish a small research group at the new host institution and to purchase laboratory equipment.

In addition, start packages contribute to motivating talented Danish researchers on a career fast-track to move to another institution in Denmark. This promotes the development of existing or new scientific fields that often require other external skills and input.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has allocated DKK 140 million to the new Start Package grant programme, which aims to make Denmark’s research institutions competitive when recruiting top researchers from abroad and to increase researchers’ mobility in Denmark – both between public research institutions and between academia and industry.

“A start package may be key to whether a researcher chooses to take a job at one of Denmark’s universities or hospitals. With the new Start Package grant programme, we want to strengthen the competitiveness of public research institutions in Denmark. The ambition is to help improve the opportunity to attract the most talented researchers, who can bring valuable skills and knowledge to boost the research at the new institution,” says Birgitte Nauntofte, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Grants of DKK 6–8 million
Under the Start Package grant programme, Denmark’s public universities and hospitals can apply for grants of DKK 6–8 million over 4 years to cover such expenses as relocation, establishing a laboratory or purchasing equipment and developing an independent research group in connection with the recruitment and permanent employment of a specific researcher. Institutions can apply for Start Package grants for associate professors and professors or the equivalent.

The Foundation will award grants under selected themes within three areas of support:

  • biomedical and health science research and applications;
  • life science research and industrial applications promoting sustainability; and
  • natural and technical science research and interdisciplinarity.

Read more about the themes within the focus areas here.

About the Start Package grant programme
The Foundation’s Start Package grants will have application deadlines four times a year. The research institution issues a call for applications for a permanent position and decides who to appoint. The institution can then apply for a Start Package grant to make the position offered more attractive to the selected researcher. For applications for mobility within Denmark, this must be in connection with a career promotion, such as from assistant professor to associate professor or from associate professor to professor.

The Foundation intends to streamline the decision-making process to ensure that the programme can be implemented flexibly.

The first application round is open and closes on 18 May. Read more about the Start Package grant programme here.

Focus on attracting talent
The Start Package grant programme is one of two new initiatives the Foundation has taken to increase the ability of Denmark’s research institutions to attract the best researchers. The Foundation has also recently allocated DKK 300 million to the Recruit research programme, which aims to increase the ability of Denmark’s universities to attract top researchers in the natural and technical sciences from abroad. Read more about Recruit here.

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, [email protected], +45 3067 4805