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New Exploratory Research and Discovery (NERD) Programme 2022

Call opens
4 November 2021
Call closes
3 February 2022 2:00pm (CET)
Announcement of results
June 2022
Recurring calls
Expected October 2022
Application guidelines


The purpose of the NERD programme is to support creative, daring, and ambitious researchers within the natural and technical sciences, at any career stage after obtaining the PhD degree. The grant is aimed at supporting a single principle investigator (PI) with ample funding and a long time horizon, providing the required long-term stability and continuity to explore truly exceptional ideas with potential application within the life sciences, health sciences or biotechnology.

The NERD programme uses a two-stage evaluation procedure. At the first stage, applicants will remain anonymous to the evaluation committee, ensuring that emphasis is put on the suggested scientific ideas. The top evaluated applications will proceed to the second stage, where the CVs and publication lists of the applicants will be included to assess the feasibility of the proposed projects.

To ensure that the PI will dedicate time and effort to the proposed research, during the year of commencing the NERD project, the applicant cannot have a grant portfolio as PI exceeding an annual total of DKK 4.0 million (including possible overhead). Grants where the applicant is co-PI are not included in this total.

About the grant


Up to DKK 14 million over 7 years



Career stage

Post Docs, Research Leaders (Established/Prof.), Research Leaders (junior/non-tenured), Research Leaders (Mid-career/Associate Prof.)


Komite for Natur og Tekniske Videnskaber


For grant inquiries
Signe Rømer Holm
Senior Grant Manager
+45 7242 2561
Kasper Nørgaard
Senior Scientific Lead, PhD
+45 3023 1552


Researchers at any career stage after obtaining the PhD degree are eligible to apply. This includes for example independent researchers who have already established their own line of research, and researchers who are in the process of establishing themselves as independent researchers. Applications from PhD students will not be taken into consideration.

Areas of support

The overall goal of the NERD programme is to support fundamental research within the natural and technical sciences, including, e.g., physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, and technical sciences. Projects focused on areas covered by other calls from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, or which fall outside the current scope of the Foundation, are not eligible for the NERD programme.

The application must describe how the outcome of the project may have potential future applications in the life sciences, health sciences, or biotechnology.


The expected awarding budget for the 2022 call is DKK 126 million.

The timeframe of a NERD project is up to 7 years, with a total grant size of up to DKK 10.5 million (pro rata for shorter projects). If the activities are primarily of an experimental nature, an additional DKK 3.5 million can be requested, for a total of up to DKK 14 million (pro rata for shorter projects). Projects with a duration of less than 5 years will not be taken into consideration.

Application process

The application must be completed and submitted using the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s electronic application and grant management system, NORMA, which can be accessed using the link “Apply” on top of this page.

It is important that the applicant carefully reads the Guidelines for Applicants before initiating the application process, as this document contains the complete call text as well as important instructions regarding the completion of the application.

Grant listings

All the projects we have funded are listed here. You can customise your search by grant year and category and use free text search.

Unsolicited inquiries

We receive a great number of inquiries, expressions of interest and applications outside of our open calls. To facilitate an effective assessment, unsolicited inquiries, expressions of interest and applications for the Novo Nordisk Foundation should be received according to guidance below.