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Challenge programme 2024 – Novel or emerging technologies for sustainable and continuous energy supply

Call opens
1 June 2023
Call closes
25 October 2023 2:00pm (CEST)
Announcement of results
Stage 1: December 2023
Stage 2: June 2024
Application guidelines Send application


The purpose of the NNF Challenge Programme is to make substantial contribution to the development of the Danish research environment, within ambitious research aimed to solve major challenges in health and the sustainability of society and the planet. The aim is to give leading researchers the opportunity to assemble a strong team that can collaborate in a centre-like structure with a unifying vision and mission to develop solutions to major challenges. The Programme provides long-term funding to enable scientific depth and focus and facilitate synergy between the research partners.

Research Theme 2024

The programme strategically targets specific challenges within annually selected research themes. For the 2024 application call, the Challenge Programme focuses on the following research theme:

  • Novel or emerging technologies for sustainable and continuous energy supply

The Challenge is to advance fundamental knowledge and develop novel or emerging technologies for sustainable and continuous energy supply that complement intermittent energy supply forms, thereby contributing to a decarbonised and secure energy system in the future.

The Challenge calls for interdisciplinary and international collaboration between physics, chemistry, engineering, energy planning, modelling, and materials science. The research could target fundamental understanding of controlled energy production based on nuclear reactions, the development of enabling technologies providing sustainable, continuous, safe, and robust energy production, or it could address technologies for energy storage across relevant timescales. Priority will not be given to carbon-based energy forms, nor to conversion between energy carriers, such as in fuel cells. The successful research plan should include a systematic assessment of the pros and cons of the proposed research or developing technology relative to other types of sustainable energy production, and the project should also contain a plan for related university-level educational activities and public outreach.

Supported research may include, but is not limited to:

  • Research on novel or emerging nuclear technologies that may become affordable and address safety and waste concerns as, e.g., small modular reactors, thorium breeder reactors, or molten salt reactors.
  • Fundamental research that advances our understanding of fusion power generation.
  • The physics and chemistry of molten salts, and their application in energy storage across relevant timescales.
  • Development of fundamental knowledge or technologies that address the scope of the challenge.


The Challenge Programme supports excellent research leaders from 2-4 research groups (main applicant plus 1-3 co-applicants).

The programme leader must be at least 75% affiliated with a Danish university, hospital or other non-profit research organisation, that will be considered the host institution of the project.

The research institutions of the co-applicants can be located in Denmark or abroad. The co-applicants should contribute significantly to the advancement of the project and should receive part of the funding.

Industry collaboration is possible; however, funding cannot be awarded to industrial partner(s).


A total of up to DKK 120 million is available for grants between DKK 30 million and DKK 60 million for projects lasting up to 6 years.

Application process

The application process will consist of two stages.

Stage 1: A short expression of interest will be evaluated by an international expert committee. The best applicants will be invited to submit a Stage 2 application.
Stage 2: An application with a detailed project proposal. The main applicant will be invited for an interview with the international committee.

Please read ”Information and Guidelines for Applicants” carefully before initiating the application process. Additional and essential information is found in these guidelines.

Click here to read more about the Challenge Programme and to see a list of previous Grant recipients.

The Challenge evaluation committee can be found here (will be announced at a later stage).

About the grants



Career stage

Research Leaders (Established/Prof.), Research Leaders (Mid-career/Associate Prof.)

Research area focus

Natural sciences, Technical sciences


For grant inquiries
Ulla Vig Nissen
Grant Manager, Dr Philos
+45 6186 8746 [email protected]
Kasper Nørgaard
Scientific Director, PhD
+45 3023 1552 [email protected]