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What is the Foundation?

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an independent Danish foundation with corporate interests.The objective of the Novo Nordisk Foundation is twofold: To provide a stable basis for the commercial and research activities conducted by the companies within the Novo Group and to support scientific and humanitarian purposes.

Strategy for grants towards 2018

The Foundation’s strategy for awarding grants reflects the Board’s overall guidelines and specific objectives related to how the Foundation’s grant activities will develop in the future.

Increased grants

The positive trends in the financial results of the Novo Group will enable the Foundation to increase its total grants significantly in the coming years to benefit research and society.

Starting in 2016 the Board has established a guidance that allows the Foundation to pay out up to 4% of its accessible assets in a given calendar year. This enables the Foundation to increase its payouts significantly from the present level and to continue to consolidate and provide a stable basis for the companies in the Novo Group.

Payouts is the amount the Foundation pays out each year to active grants. Some grants are paid out immediately while others are paid out over several years. Payouts therefore gives a more relevant picture of the Foundation's funding level than grants awarded which can vary significantly from year to year.

SIX strategic objectives

The Board has adopted six strategic objectives for awarding research grants:

  1. strengthen biomedical and biotechnology research in selected fields;
  2. fuel cross-disciplinarity;
  3. advance individual excellence;
  4. stimulate creativity, inspiration and knowledge about science and technology
  5. build bridges between scientific discoveries and commercial applications; and
  6. achieve social and humanitarian impact.


The increased grants will continue to be used to strengthen public sector research and innovation within biomedicine and biotechnology at universities and hospitals in Denmark and the rest of the Nordic countries. In addition, we will focus on awarding more funds for improving the treatment of diabetes and for clinical research. Finally, the Foundation will significantly increase its grants for humanitarian and social causes.

The Foundation is therefore increasing the grants awarded by its committees and is introducing several new scholarships and types of grants. It is also launching new initiatives that will strengthen the cluster of research centres with the aim of obtaining a leading global position.

Looking to the future, the Foundation seeks to promote innovation in Denmark’s key strengths: biomedicine and biotechnology. We believe that we can advance innovation and ultimately create growth in society by building bridges between research and the business community. The Foundation therefore supports activities across the whole innovation value chain, from research idea to commercial application.

Knowledge-based innovation requires strong basic and clinical research, and world-class research is linked to high-quality education. It is therefore important to kindle interest in research within educational programmes and to create opportunities for developing promising research talent that inspire the most talented people to pursue a research career.

The Foundation is convinced that this long-term perspective, combined with substantial funding, will provide the appropriate conditions for the most talented researchers to develop their full potential. Giving researchers the freedom to test their ideas, no matter how risky these may be, creates the ideal prerequisites for generating useful research results of the highest quality that can make a difference to society.