External review

Information on the Independent Research Fund Denmark

Please note: 1 July, 2017 
The Danish Council for Independent Research will change its name to Independent Research Fund Denmark


1. General Information

The Independent Research Fund Denmark (IRFD) is a public, independent research funding body that strives to improve the quality and internationa­lization of Danish research. Being committed to investigator-driven and bottom-up research activities, that allow researchers to identify new opportunities and directions, IRFD supports research activities of the highest quality across all fields of science.  IRFD grants are awarded through open competition and the overarching criterion of evaluation is scientific excellence. For that reason it is generally considered very prestigious to be funded by IRFD. 

The Independent Research Fund Denmark (IRFD) funds research in Denmark based on the researchers’ own ideas, with an annual budget of 128 million euro (2017). IRFD consists of a Board of Directors and five scientific research councils, one of which is the IRFD.

2. Anonymity, confidentiality and openness

According to Danish legislation, applicants have the right to know the identity of external reviewers, and the external reviews must be sent to the applicants as part of a ‘right to reply’ process. Therefore please note that you cannot be anonymous as a reviewer in Denmark. 

Research plans and the personal data included in the proposals are of confidential nature and should not be accessible for others than the reviewer and must be disposed of immediately after the assessment process is completed.  Confidentiality must also be maintained after the assessment process has been completed. 

The public can request access to all documents in the public sector.  However, there are some limitations in this respect, and each request for access to documents will be specifically reviewed by the Office of Independent Research Fund Denmark. 

3. Conflicts of interest and impartiality

The Independent Research Fund Denmark follows rather strict guidelines on conflicts of interest, in order to make sure that the assessment is carried out without - and cannot be suspected of - bias.  According to the Danish Public Administration Act (see the extract below), reviewers must not have vested interests in relation to the proposals or applicants they are asked to assess. 

Reviewers are therefore asked to declare any specific interests, they may have - be it personal, financial or professional, in the (outcome of the) proposal - including informing the Office of Independent Research Fund Denmark if they have recently worked closely and/or published with the applicant or a member of the research group of the application.

Extract from the Danish Public Administration Act

Pursuant to Section 3(1) of the Danish Public Administration Act, a conflict of interest exists where:

  1. The person concerned has a particular personal or financial interest in the outcome of the case or is or previously in the same case has been representative of someone with such an interest,
  2. The spouse, relative or person-in-law of the person concerned in the direct line of ascent or descent or in the collateral branch as close as nephews and nieces or any other closely related person has a special personal or financial interest in the outcome of the case or represents any person with such an interest,
  3. The person concerned participates in the management of or is closely related to a company, an association or another private legal person who has a special interest in the outcome of the case,
  4. The case relates to a complaint of or the exercise of control or supervision of another public authority and the person concerned has previously participated in the decision with the relevant authority or in the carrying out of measures relating to the case, or
  5. Other circumstances exist that are likely to lead to any doubt about such person’s impartiality.

No person disqualified in respect of any specific case will be allowed to decide, to take part in the decision-making or to otherwise assist in the consideration of the case in question.  The relevant person must leave the conference room during the consideration of the case and may not extend any consultancy services to the persons participating in the consideration of the case or parts of the consideration of the case.

If needed, the Office of Independent Research Fund Denmark will assist with additional guidance and directions in relation to the relevant Danish legislation. 

last modified Jun 12, 2017