NAD PhD Programme

Neuroscience Academy Denmark (NAD) offers 16 fully funded PhD fellowships per year to excellent and highly motivated candidates pursuing a career in neuroscience research. NAD is funded by the Lundbeck Foundation and is a nationally concerted effort involving the neuroscience research environments of Aalborg University, Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen and University of Southern Denmark.

The 4-year NAD PhD programme consists of a pre-PhD year and a 3-year PhD project.

Programme highlights
  • 3x 10-week lab rotations in excellent neuroscience labs across Denmark (200+ labs to choose from) during the pre-PhD year
  • Specialised neurosicence courses and workshops
  • Retreats and networking events
  • The opportunity to design your own PhD project in close collaboration with an NAD lab of your choice.

The next call for NAD PhD fellows opens April 21, 2023 and closes August 11, 2023. Read more about the programme below.

The pre-PhD year

The purpose of the pre-PhD year is to prepare you for doing an excellent PhD project in neuroscience by providing you with the opportunity to work in a variety of first-rate neuroscience labs, attend basic and advanced neuroscience courses and establish a strong scientific network. You will be introduced to various techniques and methodological approaches that you can use in the formulation of your PhD project.

During the pre-PhD year, you will be  employed as a research assistant and take part in a mandatory lab rotation programme in 3 NAD labs (basic and/or clinical). The labs are located at different geographical locations in Denmark, and you must be prepared to travel and stay at the different sites for 10 weeks at a time. More than 200 labs are affiliated with NAD, so there are plenty of opportunities. Click here to get an overview of labs and potential supervisors. You will plan your lab rotations in close collaboration with the NAD Executive Office.

During each lab rotation, you will be introduced to the lab’s primary research focus areas and techniques. You will also participate in lab research activities, journal clubs etc. By the end of each lab rotation, you must prepare a report and a presentation of your lab experience that you will present to the other NAD fellows.

In parallel with the lab rotations, you will participate in neuroscience courses and workshops offered by NAD. Furthermore, you will participate in NAD retreats and networking events. Half-way through your third and final lab rotation, you must have identified your preferred NAD lab/supervisor and NAD co-supervisor. In collaboration with your supervisors, you will then formulate a PhD project proposal and a PhD study plan which will have to be approved by the NAD Executive Office and the NAD Scientific Board.

Conditions for proceeding from the pre-PhD year to a 3-year PhD fellowship
  • Satisfactory completion of the pre-PhD year (active participation in lab rotations and courses + approved lab reports and presentations)
  • Approval of your PhD research plan by the NAD Scientific Board
  • Enrolment at a Health Graduate School at one of the four participating universities
The PhD project

Once enrolled at the relevant Health Graduate School at one of the participating universities, you will report to your supervisor(s) in the lab(s) where you will do your PhD thesis work.

During your 3 years as a PhD student, you must carry out your PhD research project, be actively involved in your research lab and take courses offered by your graduate school corresponding to 30 ECTS. NAD will also offer several activities and events where you will be expected to participate. Here, you will get the chance to network with other PhD fellows, postdocs, and scientists from the Danish neuroscience environment, take part in NAD’s mentor programme and join career events.

Responsibilities and tasks as a PhD Fellow
  • Carrying out an independent research project under supervision
  • Completing PhD courses corresponding to 30 ECTS
  • Participating in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution – preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Writing scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Writing and defending your PhD thesis based on your project
  • Following the rules of the individual department and graduate school

You are expected to hold an MSc/MD in, e.g., neuroscience, medicine, molecular biomedicine, biology, biochemistry, pharmacy, engineering, etc.

All interested candidates with a background in neuroscience are encouraged to apply. At the time of entry to the NAD programme, it is a prerequisite and an indispensable condition that you must qualify for formal enrolment as a PhD student at any of the Health Graduate Schools of the participating Danish universities. This means that you must, at the time of application, hold either a Danish master’s degree or a master’s degree equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (120 ECTS). Note that for international applicants, we might send your master’s degree to be assessed at the Danish Ministry of Education and Research where it will be determined whether your degree is equivalent to a Danish master’s degree. Only candidates at the required level will be considered.

To be considered for the NAD programme, you should:
  • Have a curious mindset and a genuine and heartfelt interest in neuroscience
  • Be organized, self-motivated, result-oriented, and capable of working independently
  • Be a fast learner of new methods and techniques
  • Possess strong English written and oral communication skills
  • Be a team player

All applications must be submitted through our online application system.

More information about the application process will be added when the next call for NAD PhD fellows opens April 21, 2023.

Application guidelines will be added when the next round of applications opens April 21, 2023.

After the application deadline, the selection committee evaluates all applications and shortlists a number of candidates who will then be invited for interviews. After all interviews, the selection committee will recommend the 16 best-qualified candidates to the NAD Governing Board which will render the final decision.

Candidates will be recruited both nationally and internationally aiming for diversity in gender, nationality, prior association to different Danish universities, education, and research lab interests. The main goal of the selection process is to identify exceptionally motivated candidates with the potential to succeed in neuroscience research

The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.

The position is a fixed-term position limited to 1 year as a pre-PhD student with an employment at the University of Copenhagen at the level of a research assistant + 3 years as a PhD Student enrolled with one of NAD’s listed research laboratories.

The applicant must meet the enrolment criteria of the graduate schools of the Danish universities by the time of submitting this application. This will be screened by the NAD Executive Office.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme (2013) and each university’s rules on achieving the degree.

Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

For additional information about the programme, please contact the NAD Executive Office.

When applications open, NAD will offer online information meetings for interested candidates. The info meetings will be announced on our event page.