Meet the first 10 DDSA PhD Fellows awarded in 2022 in this video!

DDSA PhD Fellowship Call 2023 – Call Closed

Open Call for ambitious and talented young data scientists to apply for the DDSA PhD Fellowship 2023! DDSA will for the second time award 10 three-year PhD Fellowships of DKK 1.8 million each. We award the most promising candidates according to their scientific qualifications, motivation and engagement, as well as the quality, originality, relevance and potential impact of the proposed project within any field of data science. An agreement with a principal supervisor at a Danish university is a requirement.


Call for Applications  

Danish Data Science Academy (DDSA) invites applications for ten three-year PhD fellowships of DKK 1,800,000 (+ 5% administrative costs) to visionary and ambitious young data scientists who want to pursue their own research ideas in collaboration with a Danish research environment. 

Applications can be within any field of data science aligning with the DDSA research scope 

DDSA welcomes applications from candidates eligible for a Danish PhD programme (the 3+5, 4+4 and 5+3 models). It is a requirement that the applicant has a well-defined project proposal as well as an agreement with a principal supervisor at a Danish university. 

We also welcome applications from candidates who applied for a PhD fellowship during the first round of applications (2022), but who did not receive a grant.   

Deadline for applications is Sunday March 19, 2023, 23:59 (UTC + 01:00).

Applications must be submitted via the DDSA Funding Portal.  

Please note that DDSA does not fund industrial PhDs, offer co-funding or fund students already enrolled at a PhD School.

Please make sure to read the full application guidelines before you start your application process.

Applications not fulfilling the requirements will be rejected without further consideration. In this case, you will receive an administrative rejection. 


The DDSA PhD Fellowship is a fixed individual research grant aiming to attract and support visionary data science students that want to develop their own PhD project in collaboration with a strong hosting environment at a Danish research institution. By focusing on academic freedom and the student-driven research idea, we aim to engage and empower the new generation of talented data science researchers.

DDSA encourages cross-disciplinary and collaborative projects with more than one supervisor from different disciplines. The interdisciplinary aspect is not limited to spanning theory and application but can also span different applications or different theoretical approaches. 

If granted a DDSA Fellowship, you will join a vibrant community of committed and excellent skilled young data scientists #GrowingDanishDataScience across scientific domains and disciplines. 

Who can Apply?

We welcome applications that combine excellent data science qualifications, creativity, passion for research, and the desire to engage with the data science community.  

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, nationality, or religion are encouraged to apply. 

Eligibility criteria

Applicants with a master’s degree:

You can apply for a DDSA Fellowship based on a two-year master’s degree (120 ECTS points), in addition to a bachelor’s degree (180 ECTS points), or equivalent. 

If you have not yet finalised your master’s degree by the time of application, you must provide a statement from your master’s thesis supervisor. 

Applicants without a master’s degree: 

You can also apply based on your bachelor’s degree, and thereby integrate your master’s degree and PhD education (the so-called 4+4 and 3+5 PhD models).  

If you have not yet finalised your bachelor’s degree by the time of application, you must provide a statement from your bachelor’s thesis supervisor. 

All applicants must have high-level proficiency in oral and written English. 

The research project

Your project must be within a field of data science, and may concern basic theoretical research, development of new data science methods and technologies, and/or innovative applications of data science to generate new important insights. 

Projects mainly concerned with methods development must argue convincingly for the potential application and impact.   

Projects that have their primary focus on applications of state-of-the-art data science methods must argue convincingly for the novelty and impact of their data science approach and for the importance of the new knowledge generated.  

Your project must be aligned with the research scope to one, or both, of the DDSA funders, Novo Nordisk Foundation and VILLUM FONDEN. 

The supervisor 

In order to apply you must have a letter of support from a principal supervisor who holds a position as an associate professor or professor (or equivalent) at a Danish university and conducts research within the field of your PhD project.

How to Apply

You apply by submitting your application to the DDSA Funding Portal. Please make sure to carefully read the application guidelines below before you start your application process.

Deadline for submitting your final application is on March 19, 2023, at 23:59 (UTC + 01:00). 

Application Guidelines

Applications not fulfilling the requirements will be rejected without further consideration. In this case, you will receive an administrative rejection.

Applications must be submitted via the DDSA Funding Portal. 

Your application must be written in English and must include the following:

1. Abstract 

Max. half a page  

  • Abstract in English briefly describing the purpose, methods and significance of the project. 

2. Project description 

Max. two pages excluding figures/tables and list of literature cited. 

The project description should include: 

  • Background and state of the art 
  • Research questions and methods 
  • Outcome and potential impact 
  • Literature cited 

Data availability statement (optional): 

It is a prerequisite that the proposed research is conducted in agreement with The Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. Furthermore, if the specific project contains elements of potential ethical concern, please enclose a statement describing these as well as a presentation of measures to ensure responsible research conduct. If the research requires approval from ethical committees, this should be stipulated along the expected approval processing time. 

3. Motivation letter 

Max. one page 

The motivation letter should address the following: 

  • What is your motivation for doing a PhD? 
  • What is your motivation for addressing the research questions? 
  • Why are you the right candidate to carry out this project?
  • How will your research and results impact science and society more broadly?

4. Your CV  

Max. two pages  

Your CV must include: 

  • Your educational background 
  • Additional qualifications and experiences you may have, for instance: studies abroad, pregraduate research, data science and programming experience, honours, experience with working in a research environment, participation in research conferences/ meetings/ presentations, teaching experiences, and publications (incl. the status of the paper: published/accepted/under review/preprint, etc.) 

A maximum of two recommendation letters/other documentation can be added to your CV.

5. Copies of certificates and grades  

Applicants with a master’s degree (the 5+3 PhD model): 

Please provide copies of certificates including full transcripts of grades of both your bachelor’s degree (180 ETCS) and your master’s degree (120 ETCS), or equivalent degrees.

If you have not yet finished your master’s degree, please enclose a statement from your master’s thesis supervisor including the expected date for handing in the thesis, as well as expectation of a successful outcome.

Applicants without a master’s degree (the 4+4 and 3+5 PhD models): 

Please provide a copy of your bachelor degree certificate and full transcripts of grades of your bachelor degree as well as any master’s degree courses you may have completed.

If you have not yet finished your bachelor’s degree, please include transcripts of grades of all bachelor’s degree courses completed. Furthermore, you must enclose a statement from your bachelor’s thesis supervisor including the expected date for handing in the thesis, planned exam date, as well as expectation of a successful outcome.

6. CV and statement of support from principal supervisor 

You must have a supervisor agreement with a principal supervisor who conducts research within the subject of your PhD project, and who is employed as an Associate Professor or Professor (or equivalent) at the university where you wish to be enrolled. 

Please provide: 

  • A short CV of the principal supervisor (max. two pages) 
  • A signed letter of support from the principal supervisor that describes why he/she supports the candidate and the project, including what prior knowledge he/she has of the candidate
Evaluation Criteria

The proposed research project must be aligned with the Research Scope to one, or both, of the DDSA funders, Novo Nordisk Foundation and VILLUM FONDEN. 

Applications will be evaluated based on the following six criteria. Each criterion will be given equal weight:

1. Applicant quality   

  • Prior academic achievements and performance 
  • Data science and programming experience 
  • Motivation and creativity 
  • Research experience 
  • References  
  • Publications (if any) 

2. Research quality (novelty, originality, motivation) 

  • Is the proposed research idea novel?  
  • Are stated research hypotheses consistent and appropriate? 
  • Is the state-of-the-art of the relevant research field adequately described? 
  • Is the proposed research likely to produce exciting new knowledge? 
  • Is the proposed project sufficiently focused? 

3. Research impact (on e.g., academic, cultural, societal, economic, health or environmental issues)  

  • Is the proposed new knowledge generated useful across scientific domains? 
  • Will the proposed research have a high impact? E.g., generate new scientific paradigms or facilitate new analyses that are likely to lead to novel important insights? 
  • Will the proposed research impact (multiple) research fields within the DDSA Research Scope? 

4. Feasibility (the likelihood for the project to obtain the goals envisioned) 

  • Is the proposed project technically feasible? 
  • Is the relevant data available and accessible to conduct the proposed research? 
  • Is the research described realistic given the resources available (applicant + hosting institution)? 
  • Is there access to necessary computing resources, equipment, etc.? 
  • Are relevant ethical concerns addressed? 

5. Collaboration (the combined quality of the research team (applicant and supervisor) and the broader research environment at the hosting institution)  

  • Is there a high synergy between applicant experience and hosting scientific environment? 
  • Is collaboration cross-disciplinary 
  • Is there adequate scientific quality available in the hosting scientific environment to realize the proposed research project? 
  • What is the level of scientific excellence of the hosting environment? 
  • Is the synergy of applicant and hosting environment well argued in the application? 

6. Alignment with the scope of DDSA 

  • Is the proposed research within the DDSA Research Scope? 
  • Does the proposal support the creating of a scientific community within data science in Denmark? 
    Evaluation and Selection Process

    The evaluation and selection process is conducted by the DDSA Fellowship Evaluation Committee (FEC), consisting of six international members and six Danish members. The evaluation process is divided into two steps: 

    1. Scientific evaluation: Each application is individually evaluated by up to four assessors, followed by an FEC ranking meeting discussing applications and selecting the 20 top-ranked candidates for interview.
    2. Candidate interview: The 20 top-ranked candidates are invited for virtual interviews. Based on this, the FEC recommends 10 grant recipients for the DDSA Board of Directors’ approval.

    Please note that interviews will be conducted during week 21 in May, 2023.

    Award Notification and Rejection of Applications

    Applicants not invited for interview will be informed by ultimo May, 2023. Applicants will receive numerical feedback only. 

    Candidates invited for interview but not selected for a fellowship will receive individual feedback on the proposed research project as well as the interview performance. 

    Candidates awarded a PhD fellowship will primo June, 2023, receive a phone call, and within 2 weeks a grant letter specifying the grant conditions. 

    Terms and Practicalities

    The DDSA PhD Fellowship 

    The fellowship (DKK 1,800,000 + 5% administrative cost, amounting to a total of DKK 1,890,000) is expected to cover three years of salary, tuition fee, external stay as well as relevant travel – and operational costs.  

    The fellowship may only be used for the specific project applied for.  

    If the total cost of the PhD project should exceed the fixed amount granted, the hosting institution is expected to cover such additional expenses.  

    DDSA does not fund industrial PhDs, offer co-funding or fund students already enrolled at a PhD School.  

    If the applicant receives another grant covering the same project as described in the application to DDSA, DDSA reserves the right to withdraw the PhD fellowship. 

    The PhD Programme 

    The PhD project must be carried out in accordance with: 

    Enrollment and employment  

    A PhD study in Denmark is by default equal to enrolment in a PhD School at the Danish university, where the principal supervisor holds a position.  

    Enrollment must be within six months after receiving the grant letter, unless otherwise agreed with DDSA. If this is not achieved, the fellowship will be retracted. 

    Please note that the specific requirements for enrolment may vary from one university/PhD School and to another. 

    Employment is for 3 years at the enrolling university/research institution, where the project is to be carried out, unless otherwise agreed with DDSA.  

    PhD students will receive a monthly salary during the employment period for which they are enrolled in the PhD Programme. Terms of employment and salary are according to the agreement between the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations and the Ministry of Finance. 

    Further inquiries about enrolment and employment must be directed towards the enrolling university/place of employment. 

    For International Applicants

    Inquiries about residence permit must be directed towards the hosting institution. 

    Most Danish universities have information sites for international staff about living and working as a researcher in Denmark. 

    See for example: 

    Aalborg University 

    University of Aarhus 

    Copenhagen Business School 

    University of Copenhagen 

    IT University of Denmark 

    Roskilde University 

    University of Southern Denmark 

    Technical University of Denmark