Carlsberg Foundation ramps up support for Danish research following new agreement with universities



The Carlsberg Foundation and the other major private research-funding foundations in Denmark have come to an important agreement with Universities Denmark on covering indirect costs for the research projects they fund. In the light of this agreement, the Carlsberg Foundation has decided to increase its total annual funding for Danish research by an estimated DKK 85 million.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation, the two Velux Foundations, the Lundbeck Foundation, the LEO Foundation and the Carlsberg Foundation have reached agreement with Universities Denmark on a model for how they contribute to the indirect costs associated with their research funding at the country’s eight universities. Besides creating stability around foundation-funded research, the agreement gives the universities greater scope to fund research themselves.

New funding model

Traditionally, the private foundations have primarily covered the direct costs of research. As their share of Danish research funding has grown considerably in recent years, the foundations have agreed to give universities more help with the indirect costs associated with the research they fund:

 “Driven by a common desire to help future-proof Danish research and contribute to a sustainable research system, we and the other participating foundations have had a fruitful dialogue and process with Universities Denmark,” says Carlsberg Foundation CEO Lasse Horne Kjældgaard. “This has resulted in an agreement which will be pivotal for how the Carlsberg Foundation funds research. The agreement will bring clarity and common rules on the types of expenditure that the foundations help cover. We’re convinced that the new agreement will strengthen Danish research.”  

Carlsberg Foundation expands research funding budget

As a result of the new agreement, the Carlsberg Foundation’s Board of Directors has decided to increase the funding available for basic research at Danish universities in 2024. The increase matches the Foundation’s contribution to indirect costs and thus ensures that the Foundation can maintain approx. the same level of grants awarded in the coming year. Based on the number of project-funded FTEs in recent years, this means that the Foundation expects to contribute an additional DKK 85 million to Danish research in 2024. The Carlsberg Foundation had previously set an annual funding budget of around DKK 600 million for basic research through to 2027.

“Every krone towards indirect costs will be matched with an additional krone for direct research costs,” says Kjældgaard. “Our annual funding for free Danish basic research has been growing rapidly, and we want to ensure that our contribution to indirect costs does not hamper this growth.”

This expansion of the funding budget will initially apply to 2024 and then be reviewed by the Board of Directors.

About the agreement

The agreement between Universities Denmark and the six participating foundations enters into force in the New Year. It is based on a clear model for distributing the indirect costs associated with foundation-funded research projects between the universities and the foundations. More specifically, the foundations will pay a project supplement to help cover indirect costs for research grants below DKK 50 million awarded in open competition. This supplement has been set at DKK 250,000 per project-funded scientific FTE for research in the natural sciences, health sciences and technical sciences, and DKK 200,000 in the humanities, social sciences, law and theology.

Based on the current number of FTEs funded by the foundations, it is estimated that their total contribution to indirect costs in future will be around DKK 700-800 million annually.

Universities Denmark and the participating foundations will continue their close dialogue on how the foundations and breadth of Danish research can be further strengthened.


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