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CHALLENGE PROGRAMME 2025 – Interactions of Infectious and Cardiometabolic Diseases

Call opens
9 April 2024
Call closes
9 October 2024 2:00pm (CEST)
Announcement of results
Stage 1: December 2024
Stage 2: June 2025
Application guidelines Send application


The purpose of the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s Challenge Programme is to make substantial contribution to the development of the Danish research environment, within ambitious research aimed to solve major challenges in health and the sustainability of society and the planet. The aim is to give leading researchers the opportunity to assemble a strong team that can collaborate in a centre-like structure with a unifying vision and mission to develop solutions to major challenges. The Programme provides long-term funding to enable scientific depth and focus and facilitate synergy between the research partners.

Research Theme 2025

The programme is a strategic effort targeting specific challenges within annually selected research themes. For the 2025 application call, the Challenge Programme is seeking to support the following research theme:

  • Interactions of Infectious and Cardiometabolic Diseases

Infectious disease (ID) and cardiometabolic disease (CMD) are two major global health challenges that affect millions of people every year. While these are distinct types of disease, there is growing evidence that they interact in complex ways, and that these interactions influence the risk, severity, and prognosis of both types of disease.

The Challenge is to understand the interactions between CMDs and IDs and inform how to best reduce the morbidity and mortality of people and populations exposed to both CMDs and IDs.

The programme will have a special focus on cross-disciplinary research that builds on existing expertise in CMDs and IDs. Collaboration with researchers from relevant countries and settings in Denmark that have a higher dual burden of CMDs and IDs is encouraged. The programme is not limited to a specific CMD or ID but must focus on understanding the interactions between the disease types (i.e. the mechanisms and causal processes that render the combined effect of the two diseases more than additive).

To better understand the interactions between CMDs and IDs, basic biomedical research that is pertinent, applicable, and state-of-the-art is required. To inform how to best reduce the morbidity and mortality of people and populations exposed to both CMDs and IDs, implementation and clinical research may also be included. Consideration of health equity and diversity both in relation to gender and ethnicity is required.

Supported research may include but is not limited to:

  • Understanding the causal processes and biological mechanisms that underpin the interactions between CMDs and IDs (e.g. immune, metabolic, and inflammatory pathways).
  • Investigating the biological mechanisms and causal processes in different research contexts (e.g. laboratory, clinic) or model systems (e.g. cell-based, animal, human).
  • Developing and testing novel individual and population-based strategies to optimise prediction, prevention and/or treatment of the dual burden of CMDs and IDs.


The Challenge Programme supports excellent research leaders from 2-4 research groups (main applicant plus 1-3 co-applicants).

The programme leader must be at least 75% employed at a Danish university, hospital or other non-profit research organization, that will be considered the host institution of the project.

The research institutions of the co-applicants can be located in Denmark or abroad. The co-applicants should contribute significantly to the advancement of the project and should receive part of the funding.

Industry collaboration is possible; however, funding cannot be awarded to industrial partner(s).


A total of up to DKK 120 million is available for grants between DKK 30 million and DKK 60 million for projects lasting 6 years.

Application process

The application process will consist of two stages.

Stage 1: A short expression of interest will be evaluated by an international expert committee. The best applicants will be invited to submit a Stage 2 application.
Stage 2: An application with a detailed project proposal. The main applicant will be invited for an interview with the international committee.

Please read ”Information and Guidelines for Applicants” carefully before initiating the application process. Additional and essential information is found in these guidelines.

Click here to read more about the Challenge Programme and to see a list of previous Grant recipients.

The Challenge evaluation committee can be found here (will be announced at a later stage).

About the grants


Up to DKK 30-60 million per grant



Career stage

Research Leaders (Established/Prof.), Research Leaders (Mid-career/Associate Prof.)


For grant inquiries
Robert W. Morton
Senior Scientific Manager
[email protected]
Eugenia Krasnopjorova
Grant Manager
[email protected]