How to apply for funding

When you apply for a grant from NordForsk, there are specific requirements that you or your application must fulfil.

All activities that are funded by NordForsk are expected to generate Nordic added value. This means that in addition to scientific and societal impact, the activities should generate value for the Nordic region.  

Who can apply?

The eligibility criteria are always stated in the call text. As a general rule, the project consortium must include partners from at least three Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden) or autonomous areas (the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Åland).

The project owner (contract partner to NordForsk) must be a legal entity based in a Nordic country, or in a country that is a funding partner of the call. The project owner must be a research performing organisation. A research performing organisation is a legal entity which is a university, university college or an established research institute and is characterised by the following: 

  • A primary goal is to independently conduct fundamental research and/or applied research and or research-based innovation where results are published.
  • The entity may be private or public but must not pay out dividends from its activities.
  • The entity has a significant production of academic, published research.

Project partners may include research-performing organisations, or public sector, private sector and third sector participants, depending on the purpose and objectives of the call and the project. Specific requirements relating to the applicants and the kind of organisations that are eligible to apply for funding, will vary and are stipulated for each call. Applicants must consult the call text for more information.

NordForsk funding guidelines 

How to apply

Go to the NordForsk Application Portal to read the entire call text and any attachments (such as background documents and national guidelines).

  • You must log in to the portal to create a grant application. First-time applicants must register themselves as users.
  • Once registered, new users will automatically be logged in and can fill in the online application form for the relevant call for proposals.
  • We strongly advise that you look into the requirements in the application form before your start working on your application. There are, for example, several attachments to be included, and these have a maximum length. If the attachments exceed the maximum number of pages, it will prevent you from submitting your application. There is usually both an online budget table to fill in, as well as Excel spreadsheet attachments. It is your responsibility as applicant to make sure that the application is complete prior to deadline.
  • Applications may be opened and edited after they have been submitted, but please remember to resubmit your application by the submission deadline! Only fully completed, properly submitted applications will be processed.
  • The individual who creates the application will automatically be registered as the project leader. The party to the contract with NordForsk will be the institution with whom the project leader is affiliated (the Project Owner), not with the project leader as an individual.
  • Applicants will receive an automatic confirmation of receipt via e-mail upon submission of a grant application.
  • The date and time stipulated for deadlines are absolute and final, and no one is automatically entitled to an extension. The deadline may be extended in the event of technical problems with the NordForsk application portal. If the deadline is extended, all applicants who have created a draft application or submitted an application will be informed of this. Technical problems originating with the applicants will not lead to an individual extension of the deadline.
  • Only online applications submitted via the NordForsk Application Portal by the submission deadline will be accepted. Attachments will only be accepted if specifically requested in the call for proposals.
  • Applications cannot be revised after the submission deadline has passed unless the revisions concerned are needed due to errors of a clearly clerical or technical nature.
  • Proposals that do not fulfil the formal requirements (eligibility criteria) set out in the call will be dismissed.

NordForsk application portal

How are grant applications assessed?

Research funded by NordForsk should hold high scientific quality and generate Nordic added value.

Peer Review

NordForsk employs international peer review as the basis for assessment of grant applications. External experts assess each application based on the criteria stipulated in the call. Normally the experts convene in a panel that determines the score for each proposal. The panels usually consist of scientific experts from outside of the Nordic region. Sometimes panels also include representatives of the end users. More detailed information about the assessment process for a specific call will be provided in the call text.

Principles for assessment by experts for calls under NordForsk

Strategic assessment by call committee

Following peer review the call committee, comprising of representatives from the funding partners to the call, will assess the applications that are given high score by the scientific experts. The committee normally assesses how these proposals contribute to the call aims, and the potential to realise Nordic added value. The committee may also seek a balanced portfolio of funded projects.

Funding decision and announcement

The formal decision on which proposals to fund is taken by the NordForsk Board based on the recommendation from the call committee. For some calls, the involved national research funding agencies will make separate formal decisions on their share of the funding. This depends on the decided funding model for each call.

NordForsk strives to ensure transparency in the review process. Funding decisions will be communicated to the project leader by e-mail, including a justification for the decision.

The funded projects will be announced on the NordForsk webpages and in the newsletter. The names of the experts who took part in the assessment of grant proposals will be published on the webpages after the process is completed.

In cases where an applicant believes NordForsk has failed to act in accordance with our application commitments, there is a possibility of submitting an official complaint. A complaint should be submitted by the project owner.

Complaints procedure at NordForsk 


NordForsk and the project owner both sign the project contract. The contract sets out the terms and conditions for the use of the research funding and establishes the parties’ rights and obligations with regard to the implementation of the project.

For calls with a virtual common pot funding model, each of the national funders signs a contract with its respective national partners. NordForsk signs a contract only with the project owner.

The project partners must sign a collaboration agreement before the first disbursement of project funding. The collaboration agreement must be sent to NordForsk for information.

Standard terms and conditions of NordForsk contracts


The project leader will report to NordForsk annually on behalf of the project. The deadline for the annual reporting is always 31st of March each year. The project leader is reminded of the submission dates via e-mail.

The annual reporting has two parts:

  1. A progress report to be filled in and submitted in the NordForsk application portal, where you report deviations to the project plan and budget, as well as present highlights and main findings for the past year. The level of detail of the report will be determined by the size of the grant, scope of the project, special terms and conditions in the contract, etc.
  2. Reporting any outputs, outcomes and impact generated so far, in the external portal Researchfish.

Please see our website for further information on how and why we use Researchfish:

Research impact assessment at NordForsk 

Project monitoring and reporting | NordForsk

Confidentiality and publication of information on projects receiving funding

A summary of all projects receiving funding will be made publicly available on the NordForsk website. Applicants may request that the project plan, in part or in its entirety, is exempted from disclosure to the public if there is reason to believe that the plan contains patentable ideas or other confidential information.