12 November 2019

Application for the Copenhagen Bioscience PhD Program 2020 is open

phd opportunity

The Copenhagen Bioscience PhD programme recruits up to 16 motivated international students annually to launch their careers in the vibrant scientific environment of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Centers in Copenhagen. For enrolment in September 2020, applications will be open from November 12 2019. The application deadline is January 9 2020.

Selection is based on academic achievements, research experience, academic references and interviews. A mandatory interview visit for up to 40 shortlisted applicants comprises panel interviews, one-on-one meetings with potential supervisors, and tours of the four Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Centers, and will take place in Copenhagen in March 2020. The Novo Nordisk Foundation will pay for travel and accommodation for selected applicants in association with the interview visit.

The program offers support finding accommodation in the city center of Copenhagen for the first year.

Program outline

The four-year program is divided into a pre-doctoral year followed by three years of PhD training at one of the four Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Centers embedded at the University of Copenhagen or the Technical University of Denmark:

Center for Stem Cell Biology (DanStem)

Center for Protein Research

Center for Biosustainability

Center for Basic Metabolic Research

The pre-doctoral year includes short rotation projects, choice of a lab for the long-term (PhD) project, and common research-based courses. Approximately 15% of time during the pre-doctoral year is spent on courses, and the remaining 85% on lab-based research. All awardees must pass an assessment at the end of the pre-doctoral year to qualify for the following three years of PhD education.

All students in the Copenhagen Bioscience PhD program complete three two-week rotation projects at the start of the pre-doctoral year. These rotation projects allow students to gain experience with the methods, important scientific questions and research environment in the labs they are interested in joining. During each rotation project, the student and supervisor are expected to discuss potential long-term project ideas. After completing the three rotation projects, the student makes an agreement with one of their rotation supervisors to join their lab for the long-term (PhD) project.

For more information about the pre-doctoral year and courses, see the program website.

Supervisors and research areas

By submitting this application, applicants apply primarily to the Copenhagen Bioscience PhD programme, and also pre-select one of the four Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Centers. Each Center conducts research in several research areas around a central theme within biotechnology or biomedicine. More information about research areas can be found on the program website and the Center websites (see links above).

Applicants are required to explain their interest in particular supervisors and/or research topics in the application form. Potential supervisors and projects are listed on the program website.


CPH Bioscience students 2019


The CPH Bioscience PhD program is designed for international talents to come to Denmark and start their research careers at one of the NNF Research Centers.

Applicants must fulfill the following:

  • Submit a fully completed application form before the deadline via the Novo Nordisk Foundation web-based application system.
  • Provide a minimum of two academic references.
  • Hold, or anticipate receiving before enrollment, a university degree that formally qualifies the applicant to enter a PhD or equivalent program in the country where the degree was obtained.
  • Hold, or anticipate receiving before enrollment, a university degree from outside of Denmark.
  • The program is also open for applicants with a Danish degree who can document at least 12 months of full-time research experience from outside Denmark, confirmed by at least one of the academic references.
  • Provide proof of English language skills (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, GRE scores).


Full salary and tuition fee will be covered by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Funding for the first year is awarded unconditionally to all successful applicants. Funding for the following three years is awarded conditionally, to be approved following a successful qualifying assessment at the end of the first (pre-doctoral) year. Up to sixteen positions will be funded for a program start in September 2020. Applicants of all nationalities may be awarded funding, provided they fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

For more information, see the program website.

Application process

Applications must be completed and submitted using the Novo Nordisk Foundation electronic application system.

Once signed up and logged in at the Novo Nordisk Foundation grant administration system, you can find the Copenhagen Bioscience PhD Program call for applications under the ‘Copenhagen Bioscience’ tab.

All complete applications submitted are reviewed by a committee of Group Leaders from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Centers.

Applicants can expect a reply from the review committee in February 2020.


Questions regarding CPH Bioscience PhD curriculum and research:
Amelia Ann Green
Programme Coordinator, Copenhagen Bioscience PhD Programme
Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Center Cluster
University of Copenhagen / Technical University of Denmark

Questions regarding the application system:


Apply online