The Foundation’s Grants
The Novo Nordisk Foundation primarily awards grants for research within biomedicine, biotechnology, general practice and family medicine, nursing and art history at public research institutions. The Foundation also awards grants for eliciting innovation and for humanitarian and social causes, including the research programmes at the Steno Diabetes Center.
Grant recipients are able to publish as they wish and can decide how to set priorities for the research in their projects. The research institutions to which the researchers are affiliated own the research results.
Grants are awarded in two ways; as thematic grants and in open competition:
The Foundation awards thematic grants for which the Board of the Foundation decides the overall research theme and international experts are responsible for assessing the applications.
These grants are primarily within biomedicine and biotechnology, fields in which Denmark is already well known – both in research environment and in business in the form of leading biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The Foundation seeks to facilitate new frontline research and to develop dynamic research environments that will attract and retain the very best researchers. This is intended to lead to research of the highest quality that can also catalyse innovation in some situations.
Grants Awarded in Open Competition
The Foundation awards research and innovation grants in open competition. The application process is in general based on a fixed annual cycle in which the funding is advertised together with a call for applications before a specified deadline. These grants supplement government-funded research at universities, hospitals and other non-profit institutions with their own research staff and infrastructure.
THE BOARD DECIDES THE COMMITTEES TASKS AND MANDATE
The Board of the Foundation appoints each committee in accordance with the Articles of Association, and approves the Rules of Procedure for the committee, when it is established. The Rules of Procedure, together with the annual mandate letters and committee register, described below, sets the scope and framework for the committees work.
The Rules of Procedure ensures that the Board of the Foundation’s vision and goals are implemented via the committees, and among others provide rules for the following:
- Establishment and termination of the committee
- Selection of committee members
- The number of committee members in the committee, and their period of appointment
- The responsibilities and rights of committee members
- Conflict of interest and duty of confidentiality
- Assessment of applications
- The framework for the committees’ implementation of the Board’s decisions
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS SELECTS THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
The Board of Directors appoints the committee members for 1 to 5 years, dependent on the specific committee, and the members can be reappointed once. Committee members can be appointed for up to 10 years in the same committee, and must withdraw as members the calendar year they become 70.
The selection of new committee members are based on recommendations from the committee or the secretariat, describing the potential members scientific credentials, thereby ensuring high expertise within the relevant scientific field.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS DECIDES ALL GRANTS IMPLEMENTED IN THE COMMITTEES
The framework for the grants are clearly defined. The Board of Directors decides the purpose, application and assessment criteria, the assessment process, the budget, and the covered research area for each grant in the foundation’s portfolio. The grants that the Board of Directors decides to be implemented by a committee, are described in the annual committee register, as well as in detailed mandate letters, from the Chairman of the Board, to each committee.
A grant call describes a subject area that the Foundation wishes to support financially, e.g. as a project, programme or fellowship. The Foundation’s grants are posted for applications in open competition on the Foundation’s homepage. A grant’s purpose, criteria for applicants and for evaluation, the assessment process, and the budget, is described in detail in the call, guidelines as well as in the committee’s mandate letters.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS DETERMINES THE ANNUAL BUDGET FOR EACH GRANT
When deciding the annual grant budget, the Board of Directors sets the financial framework for each grant implemented by the committees, for the year to come.
THE COMMITTEES IMPLEMENT THE BOARD’S DECISIONS
The committees implement the Board of Director’s decisions by identifying the researchers and projects among the received applications, that fulfill the criteria that the Board has defined.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OVERSEES THE COMMITTEES’ WORK
The Board of Directors ensures the proper implementation in the committees by monitoring their activities. This is accomplished by, i.a. the secretariat overseeing that the individual committee acts within the framework that the Board of Directors has decided. Additionally, the following control measures are in place:
- The foundation secretariat participate at all meetings in the committees in which applications are assessed, and notify the committee, if the implementation is not carried out according to the Board’s decision.
- The chairmen of the committees are responsible for the generation of minutes that describe the committees’ recommendations, after each meeting. The secretariat prepares the minutes.
- The secretariat executes the grant process and at the same time controls that the implementation is in accordance with the Board of Director’s framework for the specific grant.
- The secretariat’s activities including the open competition granting activities implemented via the committees, as well as statistical analyses of these, are described in quarterly reports for the Board’s convenience. The secretariat gives an account of the committees’ work, for the Board of Directors at each Board meeting.
- The Board of Directors reads and approves the annual report, in which the committees’ work is accounted for.
PROCESS FOR APPLICATION AND ASSESSMENT
Applications for one of the Foundation’s open competition grants must 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 Board’s granting 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, as well as guidelines for assessing grant applications.