The Novo Nordisk Foundation wishes to make significant contributions to the sustainability of society and the environment. The Ascending Investigator grants support the continued development and consolidation of excellent research leaders within plant science, agriculture and food biotechnology in the Nordic countries.
The proposed research should address major challenges within plant, agricultural, and food science associated with developing sustainable agriculture and food production. The research should be fundamental in character with a clear and strategic outlook to improve sustainability and potential solutions. The proposed research should significantly extent existing knowledge beyond state-of-the-art and may have a high-risk profile. The research should be based on life science research disciplines.
Non-exclusive list of prioritized areas:
- Development of plants with high productivity, resiliency, and resource-use-efficiency for food, fiber, materials, fuel and energy, chemicals or climate change mitigation.
- Utilisation of microorganisms to improve sustainability across the value chain from primary agricultural production to end-product.
- Development of agricultural-, food-, and forestry systems with higher productivity, circularity, and biodiversity, and with minimum impact on environment and climate.
- Development of sustainable plant-, microorganism-, and fungi-based ingredients and foods with high functionality, and organoleptic quality. The proposed research should primarily focus on the technological aspects of food science and biotechnology, while nutrition and health-related aspects may be considered only to a limited extent.
- Utilisation of ingredients derived from precision fermentation, fungi, algae, insects, and cellular agriculture for food production.
- Development of methods and technologies, including those driven by data science, that enable and support sustainable agriculture and food production. A significant proportion of the proposed research should explore the use of the new method or technology for its intended application.
The program will not support:
- Research primarily focusing on livestock, livestock commodities, and feed
- Research focusing on aquaculture, or its derived commodities
- Research with their main research component on nutritional uptake and clinical studies
Projects with a focus on pharmaceuticals and therapeutics should submit their application to the Novo Nordisk Foundation Committee on Bioscience and Basic Biomedicine, while proposals focusing on industrial biotechnology and environmental biotechnology should be submitted to the Novo Nordisk Foundation Committee Industrial Biotechnology and Environmental Biotechnology.
*For the biotechnology requirement, the OECD short definition of biotechnology will be used as a reference for assessments. The OECD single definition of biotechnology is: the application of science and technology to living organisms, as well as parts, products and models thereof, to alter living or non-living materials for the production of knowledge, goods and services.