Lundbeck Foundation’s new grant strategy puts talent and the brain first

Denmark must be one of the world’s leading brain research nations, and we must have a healthy pipeline of talented biomedical scientists. These are the objectives of the new grant strategy that Lundbeck Foundation will be launching this autumn.

Lundbeck Foundation awards grants worth around DKK 500 million to biomedical science research every year. With the new grant strategy currently being implemented, the Foundation will focus on the brain even more than in the past.

“The Foundation’s programmes are directed towards basic and clinical research, but when we say we put the brain first, we mean the brain in the very broadest sense. For us, brain research is a wide-ranging term, encompassing projects in everything from biomedical sciences, social sciences and the humanities to technology and natural sciences – and, ideally, interdisciplinary projects spanning both clinical and basic research,” says Professor Thomas Sinkjær, Director of Research at Lundbeck Foundation.

The Three Ps

The new grant strategy is divided into three categories – also known as ‘The Three Ps’: People. Projects. Prizes.

People focuses on talent and career advancement. Some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs have transpired when the most talented scientists have had the time and the freedom to devote themselves to the research they are most passionate about. Our aim is therefore to identify the best scientists with the most innovative ideas in open competition, and to give them the opportunity to develop their own research ideas and conduct ‘blue sky’ research.

There are four funding programmes to which scientists can apply:

  • Lundbeck Foundation Postdocs (no later than four years after obtaining a PhD). This applies to postdocs in Denmark but we would particularly like to encourage young Danish scientists to travel abroad and to attract young scientists from abroad to Denmark for longer terms. Grants are for DKK 800,000 per year for up to three years. Read more.
  • Lundbeck Foundation Fellows (no more than eight years after obtaining a PhD), which focuses on talents, from both Denmark and abroad, who wish to establish or expand their own research team in Denmark. Grants are for DKK 10 million over a five-year period. Read more.
  • Lundbeck Foundation Ascending Investigators (no more than 15 years after obtaining a PhD), which focuses on outstanding scientists at associate professor level in particular, but also includes clinical positions at the same level. If the quality is competitive, the Foundation would like at least 40% of the funded projects over a number of years to be in the field of neuroscience. Grants are for DKK 5 million over a four-year period. Read more.
  • Lundbeck Foundation Professors, which focuses on the very best international and Danish neuroscience researchers and on building up excellent research environments around these people in Denmark. We hope that this programme will attract some of the very best international neuroscience researchers to Denmark. Grants are for DKK 20-40 million over a six-year period with an option to extend. Read more.

This element of the grant strategy will become effective from 2019.

Projects focuses on major, interdisciplinary neuroscience ventures (LF Collaborative Projects) and unorthodox, ground-breaking ideas which challenge current dogma in the field of biomedicine (LF Experiments).

There are two funding programmes to which scientists can apply:

  • LF Collaborative Projects focuses on projects involving collaboration between research teams in Denmark or between Danish and international research teams. These will usually be interdisciplinary neuroscience research projects which seek to understand or solve a complex issue. The Foundation expects to allocate grants worth up to DKK 60 million over a five-year period with an option to extend for a further five years.
  • LF Experiments focuses on funding bold, ground-breaking research ideas which would not, perhaps, be given a chance in traditional application programmes with peer review. With this programme, we encourage scientists to challenge current dogma with the aim of changing the way we view the world. Many of these high-risk projects will fail. On the other hand, if they succeed, they may just revolutionise the world. Applicants’ names and CVs will not be published before the review panel has selected the best ideas for funding. This is to ensure that scientists will have the courage to present their most ambitious ideas to the academic colleagues who will be reviewing their proposal. The Foundation expects to allocate grants worth up to DKK 2 million for up to two years.

This element of the grant strategy will be announced in 2019, and the actual timing will be announced on this website at a later date.

The new strategy also means that (up to) 10% of the budget can be reserved for project-related, indirect costs if appropriately justified.

Prizes is an important instrument for acknowledging and celebrating outstanding scientists. We will continue to do this with The Brain Prize, our principal, international flagship, and we will keep on awarding Talent Prizes and the Lundbeck Foundation Research Prize for Young Scientists to particularly promising young scientists. Furthermore, the monetary prizes linked to the awards will increase.

In addition to The Three Ps, the new strategy includes plans for increased outreach activities and continued funding of science communication and degree programmes in natural sciences. There will be further information about these two items at a later date.

Come to our information meetings for further details

Director of Research Thomas Sinkjær and CEO Lene Skole will be touring the universities and university hospitals this autumn to discuss the new strategy with management.

Scientists who are interested in more information about the strategy are invited to participate in one of the open information meetings which Lundbeck Foundation will be holding across the country over the next few months:

20 September – University of Copenhagen
12.30 – 1.40 pm – Information meeting, Haderup Auditorium, Panum, Blegdamsvej 3B.

21 September – Aalborg University
2.00 – 3.00 pm – Information meeting, Auditorium, Niels Jernes Vej 10

25 October – Odense Universitetshospital – kirkesalen
2.00 – 3.00 pm – Højhuset, 15. sal, Sdr. Boulevard 29, (indgang 4-38 i forhallen), 5000 Odense C

30 October – Technical University of Denmark
11.30 am – 12.30 pm – Information meeting in room S01 in the Meeting Centre

23 November – Aarhus University
2.00 – 3.00 pm – Information meeting

If you have any specific questions about the grant strategy and the application process, you are welcome to contact us at

Neuroscience report forms the basis for the new strategy

The strategy is inspired and supported by the recommendations in a report on the neuroscience environment in Denmark prepared by Sir Colin Blakemore and Martin Rossor. Read more.


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