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Novo - Exploratory Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme

Deadline - 31st of August, 2023
Amount - 5 mio DKK for 5 years

Phone: +45 6186 8746 & +45 2245 2796
Email: uvn@novo &
Webpage: NNF Exploratory

It is becoming increasingly clear that some of the most complex scientific challenges only can be addressed through interdisciplinary efforts. With the Exploratory Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme, the Novo Nordisk Foundation seeks to strengthen the synergy between researchers, across disciplines, organizations and national borders.
The goals of the Explorative Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme are to:
- Enable creative and novel, high-risk/high-gain interdisciplinary research
- Support early-stage attempts at attacking such novel interdisciplinary ideas
- Stimulate an emerging interdisciplinary research culture that spans across scientific disciplines and techniques
- Break down or overcome the barriers that exist between the different disciplines
- Strengthen and internationalize Danish research
The project should be based on a novel research idea, where the interdisciplinary challenges are at the centre. Such a novel interdisciplinary research direction is characterized by high-risk/high-gain elements and has potential for disruptive science and development of entirely new research areas.
The definition of interdisciplinary research, which is targeted here, is collaboration across scientific and technical disciplines and where the researchers may not have a common language. It is important that the collaboration is not just founded on adding methods from one research field to another but strives to combine theories, methods, and concepts from different fields to develop new synergistic research results of broad interest.
The goal of the present programme is to explore the potential of a novel and creative idea. The project phase will support testing the basic concepts and generating the early data that can provide a firm basis for a more complex and expanded project stage. Following the conclusion of this exploratory programme, the applicant may choose to apply for the full Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme. It must be noted, however, that i) it is not a requirement to pass through the exploratory stage before considering an application for the full Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme, ii) it will not give an advantage in the open competition for the full Interdisciplinary Synergy programme to have been awarded an Exploratory Interdisciplinary Synergy grant.
It is a requirement that the project aims to be truly interdisciplinary, and that the program leader in the application clearly states its timeliness and appropriateness, and how the synergy will be catalysed between the involved partners.
Research areas
Research funded under this programme must aim at reaching novel insight through interdisciplinary approaches to resolve complex challenges in relation to the Novo Nordisk Foundation core science areas:
- Basic biomedical research, clinical research and health science research
- Life science research, biotechnology and industrial applications promoting sustainability
- Natural and technical sciences research with potential applications in biomedicine or biotechnology
If the application falls inside the Natural and technical sciences area, the applicant must explain in the application text how the topic has potential applications to biomedicine, health sciences or biotechnology. 
The programme supports 2-4 research groups (the main applicant plus 1-3 co-applicants). A project with all co-applicants within the same discipline/institutional department will generally not be considered interdisciplinary under this programme. Optimally, there will be one applicant/co-applicant from each of the disciplines described in the application. Of note, disciplines do not refer to the education or formal position of the applicants, but rather their ongoing work expertise. Furthermore, the interdisciplinary consortium forming the application does not have to be new, the researchers may already have established interdisciplinary research directions together.
Up to DKK 5 million can be requested for a project running up to 3 years. The total budget for this call is DKK 50 million.
Selection process
The proposals are read and evaluated by the committee, who will make the final evaluation.
It is essential that the applications are not evaluated on absolute feasibility, as projects that are high risk/high gain are encouraged.