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The application process

The Novo Nordisk Foundation receives around 1000 applications every year for research grants. When the time comes to award grants the competition between applicants is intense and only the very best receive support.

This page summarizes what happens from the time the Foundation receives an application for one of its Open competition grants until the applicant receives an answer.


Common to all applications submitted in response to the Foundation’s calls for applications is that they are all assessed by experts in a by the Foundation’s Board established expert committees, and occasionally by international peer experts as well. The committees consist of internationally esteemed experts with the qualifications to assess the quality, feasibility, novelty and potential of the proposals, as well as the qualification of the applicants.


Applications for one of the Foundation’s open competition grants must always be submitted via the Foundation’s web-based applications system. Once the deadline has expired the Foundation’s secretariat forwards the applications to the members of one of the committees that implements the Boards grant decisions.

Dependent on the number and scope of the received applications, the committee members typically have 1 to 3 months to assess the applications.

The Foundation maintains Rules for Eligibility in order to ensure the impartiality of committee members when discussing a particular application. The Foundation’s secretariat oversees that the committees fulfil the mandate for their assessment, as it has been specified by the Board. Additionally, the secretariat regularly reports on the committees work to the Foundation’s Board.


All applicants receive an answer to their applications, sent by e-mail. On average, approx. 20% of all applications receive funding. The Foundation does not provide arguments as to why an application has been rejected.

A list of awarded grants as well as the recipients and project titles are published on the Foundation’s website. The Foundation does not publish names nor titles of applications that have not been granted.