The DNRF’s Objective


Research is a powerful driver of societal development and the improvement of humanity. The Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF) funds outstanding basic research of the highest international level at the frontiers of all research fields to strengthen the development of Danish research.

Who are we?

The Danish National Research Foundation is an independent organization established by the Danish Parliament in 1991. The foundation’s endowment secures its independence and a long-term commitment to the best Danish research. The annual funding amounts to about 470 million DKK on average.

What do we do?

The DNRF has four active funding instruments:

  • Centers of Excellence – the foundation’s flagship and the primary funding mechanism. A center grant can be used to cover all types of research expenses and has a lifetime of up to 10 years. The DNRF expects a center to deliver groundbreaking results.
  • The DNRF Chair Grant – Launched in 2020, the instrument aims to help Danish universities attract and recruit outstanding researchers from abroad, including Danes wishing to return from an international position. The objective is to support and boost start-up research activities.
  • Pioneer Centers – a strategic basic research initiative launched in 2019. The centers will operate within the scientific fields of energy/climate and artificial intelligence and will be co-funded by four private Danish foundations.
  • The Niels Bohr Professorships – This instrument was launched in 2013 and has the distinct purpose of enriching Danish research communities with top-class researchers from abroad. Subsequent to the launch of the DNRF Chair Grant, there will be no new calls for Niels Bohr Professorships. The current Niels Bohr Professorships will run until 2021/2022.

How do we decide whom to fund?

Funding decisions are based on three core values:

  • Excellence – We strive for excellence in every aspect of the research endeavor.
  • Transparency – We strive for transparency in the assessment and selection processes.
  • Risk-taking – We acknowledge that groundbreaking research requires taking risks.

How do we support our grantees?

Grant support is based on three core values:

  • Freedom – We strive to provide freedom and flexibility to grantees.
  • Trust – We strive to support our grantees and trust in them.
  • Engagement – We engage with and learn from each grantee.


The Board’s remuneration consists of a fixed amount corresponding to the general and permanent tasks of the members of the Board and an hourly payment for ad hoc participation in follow-up meetings with the grantees.

The fixed amount is based on an overall assessment of the board’s tasks, workload, needed expertise in relation to evaluation of grant applications as well as the board members’ expertise and responsibilities related to the administration of the grants and the investment portfolio.

The level of the fixed amount as well as the level of the hourly payment are kept within the limits stipulated in Danish governmental rules.

The Board members’ annual remuneration, January 1, 2020.

DKK Remuneration
Chair 239,588
Deputy chair 157,910
Ordinary member 98,013


The foundation’s Annual Reports contain financial and operating data and outline expected funding in the years ahead.

Find the Annual Reports here.


The Danish National Research Foundation is established and regulated by a specific Act of Parliament, a Royal Decree and two Executive Orders:




  • Executive Order on Delegation of the Power of the Minister for Higher Education and Science to the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science (Section 13): Executive Order No.1401 of September 25, 2020

Unofficial translations into English of the consolidated act and the royal decree

Royal Decree on the Charter of the Danish National Research Foundation, September 8, 2008

Consolidated Act on the Danish National Research Foundation, April 10, 2014

Latest news

Five research foundations join forces to establish one of Denmark’s first large research centers in artificial intelligence

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The DNRF's Annual Report 2020 is out

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Other March News in Brief

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