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Funding for Research

Funding for the research activities of the Danish universities is allocated with the purpose of ensuring research of high quality.

The principal funding for research activities of the Danish universities is historically conditioned and fixed according to ‘incremental budgeting’.

However, each year 2% of the funding is allocated and redistributed to the universities according to the so-called 45-20-25-10-model. There has been an increase in research funding coming from various political agreements – especially since 2006. The increased research funding has to a certain extent been distributed in accordance with political priorities, i.e. for PhD studies, in particular within natural science, health science and technical science. The increase in research funding for basic grant has been distributed to the universities through the 45-20-25-10-model.

Basic Research Grants

The universities’ research budgets mainly consist of the basic research grants allocated by the state. The grants are awarded each institution as a lump sum. As such, the universities determine the internal distribution of the funds across the different research areas.

The basic research grants allow the universities room for manoeuvre, and thus they are able to plan for the future and strengthen their capabilities. Furthermore, the basic research grants support research based education, PhD education, and promotes the participation of Danish research institutions in international research programmes.

The distribution of the basic research grants is incrementally determined year to year. However, in order to limit budget uncertainty the annual distribution of the basic research grants includes a 3-year budget plan.

The 45-20-25-10-model

In 2009, a policy initiative introduced the 45-20-25-10-model, a modification of the former 50-40-10-model, which included a bibliometric indicator as a fourth parameter.

The 45-20-25-10-model is an output based distribution model that considers the universities’ ability to produce educational resources.

  • 45% of a given research fund is distributed according to the universities’ education funding
  • 20% of a given research fund is distributed in accordance with the universities’ external research funding, i.e. grants from  public research councils, the EU, the private sector etc.
  • 25% of a given research fund is distributed in accordance with the universities’ research publishing (bibliometric)
  • 10% of a given fund is distributed in accordance with the number of students having completed their PhD thesis.

In early 2018, the Danish government formed an advisory group of experts to present proposals for a new funding model to increase the quality of Danish research. The advisory group identified further indicators of research quality to be included in a new funding model.

The advisory group presented its recommendations in a report to the Danish government in early 2019.

Competitive Research Funding

As an additional source of funding the universities can apply for public and private grants for specific research programmes and projects through open competitions. These are usually hosted by public research councils, foundations, the EU etc.

Competitive research funding is often issued as a time-limited offer and requires that the universities actively apply for the grants.

Research Based Public Sector Consultancy

Research based public sector consultancy is an umbrella-term that covers a wide array of tasks that the Danish universities perform on behalf of the Danish state and other public actors. These tasks can take many different forms, a few examples of research based public sector consultancy could be:

  • Conducting research within a certain subject area, such as researching labour market condition or water quality in Danish streams.
  • Providing crisis response within a certain subject area, such a providing facilities or deploying resources in an epidemic of animal diseases.
  • Consulting on a certain subject area, such as environmental consequences of a bill/policy initiative on fertilisers.

When conducting research based public sector consultancy, the university will enter into a four-year continuous contract with a specific ministry. The contract will specify the terms of payment, the nature of the tasks etc.

last modified Sep 11, 2019