Promoting diversity in Danish research

Mission Statement

Since the Carlsberg Foundation was founded in 1876 by brewer J.C. Jacobsen, the Foundation has supported excellent basic research within natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities, and one of our main purposes is to "brew knowledge for a brighter future". Excellent research requires academic freedom, unique infrastructure, academic leadership, and promoting the very best talents at Danish universities. Consequently, the entire talent pool ought to be considered – regardless of gender.

One of the four strategic principles of the Carlsberg Foundation’s Strategy 2019-2023 is to promote gender diversity in Danish research, as female researchers continue to be underrepresented, particularly in senior positions, and face several gender related career barriers.

By having an explicit focus on this challenge, the Foundation strives to improve conditions and remove barriers for female researchers at Danish universities, particularly researchers advancing from assistant to associate professor positions and from associate to full professor positions. The Foundation is convinced that an improved gender balance at universities will increase the quality and impact of Danish research both in relation to innovation, quality, methodological approaches, and collaboration.

The Foundation’s main aim is to achieve a qualified equal gender distribution among grant recipients.

Action plan

The Carlsberg Foundation grants research funding to the best and most visionary researchers and has a special focus on talent development and succession planning in Danish research. The quality of the research, and not the gender of the researcher, will always be decisive for who receives a grant from the Carlsberg Foundation.

Never diverging from this principle, the Foundation seeks to help promote gender diversity in Danish research and ensure gender balance in all its grant making through implementation of the following measures:

Calls for applications

  • The Foundation will actively encourage female researchers to apply for research grants before the annual call for applications through targeted communication.
  • Applicants of larger grants must describe in their recruitment plan how they plan to ensure diversity and gender balance in their research team.

Applications and grants

  • The Foundation adopts a holistic view of each applicant's qualifications, taking both quantitative and qualitative criteria into consideration, as well as the applicant's career potential.
  • The Foundation recognizes that in certain cases, e.g. for family and personal reasons (e.g. family ties, illness, etc.) it may be challenging for a postdoctoral fellow to spend a full uninterrupted period of two years abroad. In these special cases, after a dialogue with the postdoctoral fellow, the Foundation will allow a certain degree of flexibility with respect to how the stay abroad is planned.
  • Recognizing that maternity leave is a major issue in any attempt to achieve gender equality in the Danish research system, the Foundation will seek to eliminate financial obstacles for career advancement for pregnant women and women on maternity leave. The Foundation thus covers the difference between the salary of the person (man or woman) on parental leave and the reimbursement received from the state.


  • After completing a research project, recipients of larger grants must account for how they have addressed diversity and gender balance.
  • The Foundation will annually monitor and report the gender distribution across its applicants and grantees on the Foundation’s website.


  • The Foundation will use its voice in the public domain to set focus on the need for gender equality and diversity in Danish research to create more awareness within research environments and in the wider society.

The action plan will be updated as new initiatives are being launched.