We support independent basic research



The Carlsberg Foundation supports independent basic research at a high international level within the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. The research must be conducted by Danish researchers or international researchers with a strong connection to the Danish research environment or Danish science. Within the above scientific fields, we also support research infrastructure, publications, conferences and science communication.

Support for the sciences is described in the Carlsberg Foundation’s charter as a main task and a key part of our purpose. Since the foundation’s establishment in 1876, we have therefore supported independent basic scientific research in Denmark. Basic research that makes us smarter and, in the long term, can help overcome global challenges and make the world a better place.

Free funding in open competition

The majority of our grants are awarded on the basis of applications submitted in connection with our open calls, which are primarily directed at Danish research environments.

Given our conviction that the best and most relevant research ideas come from researchers themselves, our research funding is aimed at independent basic research. This means that the instruments specified in our calls are not further thematised. Among Danish private foundations supporting research, this broad support for independent basic research is unique to the Carlsberg Foundation.

Alongside our funding for independent basic research in open competition, the Carlsberg Foundation also works with strategic grants, as well as supporting the other objects set out in our charter.

Basic research?

The Carlsberg Foundation understands basic research as curiosity-driven experimental or theoretical work undertaken with the primary purpose of acquiring new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts. Thus, basic research analyses properties, structures and relationships with a view to formulating and testing hypotheses, theories or laws. Consequently, the Carlsberg Foundation does not, for example, fund applied clinical health-science research or applied technological research. In cases of doubt, the foundation’s board of directors will assess whether an individual application falls within the definition of basic research.

Charter and strategy

The Carlsberg Foundation supports the best researchers with the most promising projects. In accordance with our charter, our research funding is aimed exclusively at the above-mentioned scientific fields and intended for Danish researchers and international researchers who have a strong connection to the Danish research environment or whose research is of particular importance to Danish science.

In addition to basic research within the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, the Carlsberg Foundation also supports research conducted across scientific disciplines, recognising that innovations and ground-breaking results can also be achieved in cross-over areas.

Further to the charter, the Carlsberg Foundation’s board has drawn up a five-year strategy that sets out a number of additional guiding objectives for our research funding.

Through the composition of our instruments, we strive to fund all career levels in Danish research with a view to supporting a sustainable research system through continuous, smooth generational change. Furthermore, we aim to promote internationalisation in Danish basic research through targeted funding that enables talented young researchers to achieve international experience and build networks through stays at international universities.


The Carlsberg Foundation’s support for science is referred to in the foundation’s charter as department B. Assisted by the foundation’s secretariat and the executive board, the board of directors is responsible for the foundation’s grants. Applications for some instruments are initially assessed by external reviewers, but the foundation’s board makes the final decision on all applications.

The application process and assessment criteria for the individual instruments can be found under the separate guidelines for our calls.