Call for papers 2024

In 2011, the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation appointed a PhD Council to award PhD fellowships within educational research focusing on primary and lower secondary school. The council has a total of DKK 32 million available for PhD fellowships in 2024.

About the PhD projects

The PhD projects must focus on practice-relevant research for primary and lower secondary school with a view to improving learning outcomes for all pupils. The projects must be organised in collaboration with university colleges and universities. The PhD fellows must be able to teach at the university colleges and to engage in research and development in the educational field, both during and after their fellowship.

The PhD projects must include issues of particular interest to the Danish primary and lower secondary school. The following are highlighted as examples:

  • Subject didactics and development of subjects, including integrated vocational skills
  • Interaction between new subjects, new ways of teaching and new understandings of subjects
  • Well-being and failure to thrive, for example school absence and community fostering didactics
  • Diversity, inequality and inclusive environments, for example in relation to teaching practices
  • School leadership and organisation as well as collaboration with the surrounding environment
  • School organisation, for example evaluation culture and organising of everyday activities
  • Tests, ways of evaluating and their impact on practices
  • Technology, artificual intelligence and a transition towards a green way of living (professionally. socially and culturally)
  • Education for sustainability and green transition (in relation to subjects, socially and culturally)

Interdisciplinary applications and applications within other fields are also welcome.

The applications must demonstrate the connection between the research question on the one hand and the design and method on the other. Emphasis is placed on applications with a generally relevant research question and theoretical and methodological originally that engage critically with existing research. The PhD council encourages the use of quantitative methods when justified by the research question.

The PhD fellowships are expected to commence on 1 January 2025.

The offering of stipends is dependant on the economic scope in 2024 subject to the 2024 Finance Act, which is not passed until the end of 2023.


The overall objective is to improve the learning outcome of all pupils in primary and lower secondary school and, in this way, their prerequisites for further education and employment. This can be achieved, for example, by strengthening subject-specific didactic knowledge and capacity and by improving educational and social-pedagogical competencies.

The goal of the specific initiative is to ensure a high-level academic foundation for the teaching programmes (the teacher-training programme and the social educator programme) at university colleges by educating PhD fellows who can teach at these colleges.

Evaluation criteria

  • The research quality and feasibility of the project
  • The relevance of the PhD project in relation to the overall objective of the PhD Council
  • The PhD project’s plan for making the project relevant to the field of practice and for transferring knowledge through education, dissemination or development activities.
  • The PhD applicant’s reflections on the ethical considerations particularly relevant to the project
  • The academic basis of the project at the university and the university college
  • The PhD applicant’s qualifications

Who can apply?

Only named PhD applicants can apply. PhD projects and applications must be prepared in collaboration with at least one university college and one university. The university will be responsible for the PhD grant and for enrolling the PhD student in a graduate school. At the time of application, advance approval for the enrolment of the PhD student at a PhD school must have been obtained.

Affiliation with the university and university college

It must be clearly stated in the application that the PhD project is affiliated with both an active research environment at the university and an active knowledge and development environment at the university college. The application must also outline how the university and the university college will facilitate the necessary methodological approaches in the PhD project and how the knowledge transfer from the PhD project will take place.

Financial framework

The grant for each PhD fellowship may be a maximum of DKK 1.7 million for a three-year fellowship. This amount includes the PhD student’s salary, travel expenses, the education subsidy and a 44% overhead.

In addition to the fellowships, it is possible to apply for a relatively small research grant, since the PhD project can be carried out in connection with a larger research project directly connected to the individual PhD project. It is also possible to apply for a relatively small amount of compensation for participating upper-secondary schools (or other institutions) that incur significant extra expenses as a result of the research project.


The application must be submitted online via

Access to the portal will be available from mid-February 2024.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 22nd May 2024 at 12.00 noon.

Applicants will receive an email as confirmation of receipt immediately after their application is received.

All submitted applications will be assessed by an international assessment committee, and applicants can expect to be notified of the committee’s decision in November 2024.

More information

The PhD Council is responsible for administering the grants. The council’s secretariat function is located at Aarhus University. The PhD Council will hold information meetings for all interested parties in 2024: in Aarhus on January 30th at 1-3pm and in Copenhagen on February 7th at 1-3pm. The meetings will be in Danish only. More information about these meetings is available here.

Read more about the PhD council and the Globalisation Pool for Research 2011-2012, which facilitates the distributions of scholarships, here.

Images by Izumi Kobayashi via iStock