Meet the first 10 DDSA PhD Fellows awarded in 2022 in this video!
DDSA PhD Fellowship Call 2024
Open call for the third award of 10 three-year PhD Fellowships of DKK 1.8 million each. We award visionary and creative-thinking young data scientists who want to pursue their own research ideas in collaboration with a strong host environment at a Danish research institution. Application deadline is February 28, 2024.
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 creative-thinking young data scientists who want to pursue their own research ideas in collaboration with a strong host environment at a Danish research institution.
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, and that the candidate will enroll to the relevant PhD School prior to December 15, 2024.
We also welcome applications from candidates who applied for a PhD fellowship during the previous rounds of applications (2022 and 2023), but who did not receive a grant.
Deadline for applications is February 28, 2024, 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 a formal 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 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 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.
Applicants with a Master’s degree (the 5+3 PhD model):
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 (the 4+4 and 3+5 PhD models):
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.
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.
Please note: There is no limit on the numbers of applications per supervisor per funding instrument, however, a principal supervisor can only supervise 1 grant recipient per funding instrument per year.
You may have additional co-supervisors as you see fit.
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 February 28, 2024, at 23:59 (UTC + 01:00).
Applications not fulfilling the requirements will be rejected without further consideration. In this case, you will receive a formal rejection.
Applications must be submitted via the DDSA Funding Portal. We encourage applicants to log in to the funding portal for details on the application form in good time before submitting the application.
The application form is divided into three sections: Research Project, Research Environment, and Applicant Qualifications. You may at any time skip forward and back between the sections and save and view changes made to your application prior to submitting.
Your application must be written in English and include the following:
Max. 2,500 characters
- Abstract in English briefly describing the purpose, methods and significance of the project.
Max. 8,000 characters excluding figures/tables and list of literature cited (uploaded in separate fields).
The project description should include:
- Background and state of the art
- Research questions and methods
- Outcome and potential impact
- Literature cited
Please note, it is not possible to write your project description in Latex.
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.
Max. 4,500 characters
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?
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 enroll.
- 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
A short CV of the of the co-supervisor (max. two pages)
Description of Research Environment
Max. 2,500 characters
Please describe how the collaboration is a good match, and how the host environment will support you in successfully carrying out your research project.
Max. 6,000 characters
Your CV should include:
- Your educational background
- Additional qualifications and experiences you may have, for instance: studies abroad, pre-graduate research, data science and programming experience, honors, 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.
Recommendation Letters or other CV Documentation (optional)
Max. 2 uploads
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, planned exam date, 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.
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
- 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 are 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:
- Scientific evaluation: Each application is individually evaluated by up to four assessors, followed by a full committee discussion meeting. Based on the discussion of applicants, FEC selects 20 candidates for interview.
- Candidate interview: 20 candidates are invited to present their project proposals in a 15-minute virtual interview. 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, 2024.
Award Notification and Rejection of Applications
Applicants not invited for interview will be informed by ultimo May, 2024. 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 medio June 2024.
Candidates awarded a PhD Fellowship will primo June, 2024, receive a phone call followed by a grant agreement 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:
- The Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities of the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science
- The regulations and guidelines defined by the enrolling university
Enrollment and Employment
A PhD study in Denmark is by default equal to enrollment in a PhD School at the Danish university, where the principal supervisor holds a position.
Enrollment and employment must be prior to December 15, 2024, unless otherwise agreed with DDSA. If this is not achieved, the fellowship will be retracted.
Please note that the specific requirements for enrollment 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 enrollment 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: