PhD students, Postdocs & Scholarships

Novo Nordisk is a focused healthcare company and the world leader in diabetes care. We know that we cannot create all the answers in-house, so we actively engage in collaborations with academia and simultaneously welcome innovation and talented young scientists through our fellowship and scholarship programmes - our future depends on our ability to work with the best scientists with the competencies we need.

To support this, Novo Nordisk has since more than 20 years several dedicated fellowship programmes for joint PhD and postdoc projects, and the Novo Scholarships Programme for talented master’s thesis students.

Novo Nordisk R&D STAR PhD Programme

The STAR (Science Talent Attraction and Recruitment) programme is designed to offer Novo Nordisk scientists the opportunity to conduct research jointly with academia, to train and supervise young scientists in industrial research, to generate new knowledge and skills to strengthen competences and innovation, and to build relations with academic research centres around the world.

For fellows joining the STAR programme, it is a gateway to a life-changing career. With access to state-of-the-art technology we are able to fast track from basic/applied research to new innovative medicines, and by collaborating with our R&D organisation the STAR fellow will be helping to change the lives of patients.

Currently, the STAR Programme supports:

  • 3-year Industrial PhD fellowships co-funded by Innovation Fund Denmark, for joint projects between a university and Novo Nordisk

The STAR Programme continues to support many young scientists and currently around 35 fellows are enrolled in the programme.


To ensure that the funding is used in line with the company’s research strategies, the PhD project applications must be initiated by a Novo Nordisk scientist, who after approval will be the supervisor of the project together with a university supervisor. This means that is not possible to apply directly for a STAR fellowship. The project proposals are normally created jointly by a Novo Nordisk scientist and an academic scientist, often together already with a candidate. Therefore candidates can enter into a PhD project with Novo Nordisk either through their connections with such scientists, or by applying to a job ad at the Novo Nordisk career website (for approved PhD project applications that didn't have a candidate). Unsolicited applications unfortunately cannot be considered.

Postdoc positions at Novo Nordisk

Postdoc projects are intended to generate new knowledge and skills, investigate a needed research or technology question, and to strengthen the recruitment base for Novo Nordisk R&D. Departments or project groups across Novo Nordisk R&D therefore from time to time achieve internal or external funding to hire individual postdoctoral candidates for such a project, and these open postdoc positions are posted as job openings at the Novo Nordisk career website.

Joint PhD/postdoc programmes with academic institutes of excellence

Novo Nordisk is furthermore engaged in collaborative fellowship programmes in joint setups with world class universities, also thereby supporting early careers of young scientists. Please see the respective links for more information.

Furthermore, Novo Nordisk participates in a number of industry-academia collaborations and consortia supported by EU funding (such as IMI or Horizon2020 MSCA), which also includes a number of postdoc and PhD projects at the company.?

Novo Scholarship Programme

Novo Nordisk and Novozymes provide in the Novo Scholarship Programme scholarships for up to 30 master’s thesis students annually. These grants for up to one year are awarded to support exceptional students during their final master’s thesis project, allowing them to focus fully on the project.

The master’s students are located at the university and work on a master’s thesis project defined by the university supervisor and the student. Scholarship recipients must not receive other grants during the scholarship period and not undertake any paid job during the scholarship period.

Application process

Applications can be submitted once per year, following a call distributed to all relevant faculties at universities in Denmark. To be eligible, you must be enrolled at a Danish university and pursue an education within natural sciences, and do your thesis project in a field of interest to either Novo Nordisk or Novozymes. Due to international regulations, students training to be healthcare professionals (HCPs, such as medical doctors, pharmacists, nurses etc.) are not eligible to apply.

Find out more:

For other ways of collaborating scientifically with Novo Nordisk, please see our partnering website.

Talent in Novo Nordisk

Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Chief Science Officer at Novo Nordisk, talks about the need to attract the best scientific talent from around the world.

About R&D

Read more about our R&D strategy and research pipeline and our latest research publications at our dedicated?

R&D website