Background & Objectives


The Novo Nordisk Foundation and the VILLUM FOUNDATION award a total combined grant of DKK 184.3 million to the Danish Data Science Academy, which will support and initiate new initiatives for Danish research institutions and tech companies. Primarily within training of experts and interdisciplinary collaboration, two crucial areas for Denmark to realize its potential within data science.

Even though Denmark benefits from a high degree of digitization, good data sources and strong tech companies, we train too few computer science experts to cover the future needs.

At the same time, knowledge sharing and cooperation in the Danish environment must be strengthened if Denmark is to compete with the leading regions in the world.

Therefore, the Danish Data Science Academy aims to unite and strengthen the many national participants and stakeholders within the academic environment, health tech and business community.

“All segments of Danish society have a huge demand for data science experts. The Academy will provide unique opportunities to support the education and training of the new generations of data scientists and will create a unique data science community in Denmark that can compete internationally and attract talent. We are very grateful that the Novo Nordisk Foundation and VILLUM FONDEN have assumed joint responsibility for strengthening talent development in data science in Denmark and on such a large scale,” comments Lars Kai Hansen, Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Technical University of Denmark and Chair of the Academy.

Focusing on research, teaching and networking

The Danish Data Science Academy is the result of a long process that has involved researchers from across the country and is therefore strongly rooted in Denmark’s data science community. The Academy will focus on strengthening data science as an independent discipline and on stimulating fruitful collaborations harnessing new digital technologies to benefit society in a broad sense.

“The international focus on data science will definitely increase in the future. A hub therefore needs to be created as soon as possible to develop Denmark’s expertise in data science. The Danish Data Science Academy will greatly contribute to creating the right framework for Denmark to take a strong international position in data science based on our excellent framework,” says Niels-Henrik von Holstein-Rathlou, Senior Vice President, Biomedicine & Health Sciences, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Both the Novo Nordisk Foundation and VILLUM FONDEN have a strategic focus on data science, and the two foundations support different areas of application of the technologies. The combined funding creates a broad initiative that can embrace the entire field and promote collaboration with other foundations and donors.

“Data science is an important field to which VILLUM FONDEN has long contributed. The Danish Data Science Academy will gather the many excellent competencies in Denmark and create opportunities for increased interdisciplinary collaboration across a very wide range of applications and for attracting talented international scientists to Denmark. We hope that the Academy will be a natural hub for several major initiatives in Denmark such as the Digital Research Centre Denmark, the upcoming Pioneer Center for Artificial Intelligence research and the new initiative Algorithms, Data and Democracy, which we launched in collaboration with VELUX FONDEN,” says Thomas Bjørnholm, Director of Science, VILLUM FONDEN.

The Danish Data Science Academy will primarily support and implement three types of activities.

  • Scholarships for PhD and postdoctoral projects, including collaborative projects with hospitals and industry. The scholarships will be awarded following application rounds in open competition. Danish and international students will also have the opportunity to apply for travel scholarships.
  • Financial support for courses and activities for developing new or improved teaching and training courses within data science. The Academy will also create a forum for national coordination and the exchange of experience between universities and the users of their services.
  • Financial support for meetings, conferences and symposia, including events hosted and organized by the Academy with the aim of fostering internationalization, collaboration, networking and knowledge sharing across disciplines, institutions and sectors.

Opens July 1, 2021