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Children, Health and Movement

Call opens
18 January 2022
Call closes
20 April 2022 12:00pm (CET)
Announcement of results
August 2022
Application guidelines


The Novo Nordisk Foundation wishes to encourage healthy physical and mental development of children and adolescents in Denmark aged 3–16 years old by reducing sedentary behaviour while maintaining and encouraging movement and physical activity in the age group. The Foundation will support projects that seek to increase movement and physical activity among children and adolescents. In addition, we encourage the integration of other health-promoting elements such as sleep, food, and well-being into projects on movement and physical activity to build holistic and interdisciplinary projects. The purpose of this call is to support public institutions, non-profit organisations, and researchers in participating in evidence-based and innovative approaches across sectors to increase physical activity and promote health in the overall target group and to address social inequality and the inclusion of groups with the greatest risk for sedentary behaviour.

Another purpose of the call is to support projects that integrate research and practice to develop solutions based on the best available knowledge in a way that can realistically work in practice in the long term and generate and share knowledge and evidence. Thus, all projects awarded grants must incorporate research as an integrated part of the project or include a thorough evaluation plan capable of documenting the impact and learning and identifying the potential for implementation and scaling.

About the grant


Up to DKK 60 million


For grant inquiries
Maja Lund
Senior Project Manager
+45 6024 3807 [email protected]


Only a minority of children and adolescents in Denmark fulfil the Danish Health Authority’s recommendation of at least 60 minutes of daily moderate to high-intensity physical activity. For example, only 26% of children aged 11–15 years carry out the 60 minutes of activity at the specified intensity. In addition, children and adolescents are sedentary for many hours – often in front of a screen – both during weekdays and at weekends. The World Health Organization and Canada’s public authorities have recently updated the recommendations for exercise, which for all age groups include a 24-hour perspective with a recommended balance between exercise, sleep, and sedentary activities, which also emphasises the importance of getting high-quality sleep.

Denmark has considerable social inequality in health. Children from families with fewer resources are less physically active, eat less healthily, and more often have overweight. This is a social gradient in which the parents’ level of education affects children’s health. The longer education parents have, the more children engage in health-promoting behaviour in both exercise and eating habits and developing healthy weight.

Improving the level of activity among children and adolescents has been associated with several important health parameters, including better mental health, improved motor development, lower waist circumference, increased bone and muscle strength and, to some extent, improved academic performance. Interventions that stimulate more movement and physical activity therefore not only probably drive the achievement of healthy weight trends but may also lead to other positive outcomes related to health and development in childhood.

Project fields

The Novo Nordisk Foundation will support implementation and development projects that promote movement among children and young people aged 3–16 years. Projects may be aimed at the general target group of 3– to 16-year-olds but must then actively address social inequality and include considerations on how the project can promote health equity. Projects can also specifically target groups of children and adolescents at higher risk of having low activity, such as ethnic minority groups or children and adolescents in vulnerable positions. Projects may choose to work with the entire defined age group or with parts of it.

Applications may be submitted for projects focusing on reducing children and adolescents’ sedentary activities by increasing movement and physical activity. For example, the projects may focus on exploring and testing innovative approaches that can lead to a more physically active daily life among children and adolescents, work with children’s movement and health in a 24-hour perspective, or otherwise increase the level of physical activity in the group of 3- to 16-year-olds. Applications for grants may also cover research evaluation, further development and/or scaling of existing initiatives that have shown promising results. All projects must include integrated research or thorough evaluation, which the application must describe.

Applications may be submitted for grants for developing methods and initiatives, for materials and the like, and for resources to support municipal and local initiatives (in childcare, schools, leisure clubs, associations, etc.) that focus on promoting physical activity among children and adolescents. Projects may also focus on sleep, eating habits, and well-being, but this is not required.

Multicomponent initiatives based on existing evidence that indicates a greater chance of success will be preferred.

Projects may work directly with children and/or with the adults around the children, such as employees, volunteers, and parents. The Foundation encourages applicants to involve the relevant actors and target groups in the project.


The Foundation is providing a total of DKK 60 million for grants in 2022.

Applicants may apply for grants between DKK 3 million and DKK 10 million for initiatives of 2–5 years’ duration. Projects may begin on 1 September at the earliest.

Applications that do not meet these financial and time criteria will not be considered.

The project may be an independent, delimited project or part of a larger project that other partners also fund. The Foundation prefers to have several applicants interested in this field apply jointly to create the basis for comprehensive and sustainable solutions.


During the period for which the grant is awarded, the applicant must be a leader or project manager at a public institution and/or charitable organisation, including educational institutions, knowledge institutions, associations, or municipalities in Denmark.

Private companies may not apply for grants under this call for applications but may be collaborating partners in the project.

The application must list any co-applicants or collaborating partners (see the application guidelines).

Applicants may apply for a grant for the following expenses:

  • Salaries for employees or affiliated personnel for the project at all staffing levels, including project management
  • Funding to cover substitute personnel or the salary of professional staff involved in developing and/or participating in the project
  • Operating expenses such as direct expenses for developing, implementing, and operating the project, including materials and equipment
  • Professional outreach or knowledge sharing in the form of conferences, articles and other outreach directly related to the project
  • Administrative support of up to 5% of and included in the applicant’s overall budget to cover administrative expenses that are directly related to the project
  • Project evaluation and follow-up research

The Foundation will not award funding for:

  • Commercial activities
  • Buildings
  • Overheads (such as rent, water, electricity, heating, and maintenance)

Applicants who have applied for or been awarded other co-funding must state this in the budget.

Application process

Applications should be completed and submitted through NORMA, the Foundation’s application and grant management system. The application system is in English, but applications may be submitted in either Danish or English. The choice of language will not influence the assessment of the application.

Applicants should read the guidelines thoroughly since they contain detailed information about the application process. Read the guidelines here.

Please contact [email protected] if you experience any technical issues with NORMA.

Assessment criteria

The Foundation’s Committee on Children, Health and Movement will assess the applications based on the following criteria (in random order):

  • The project’s compliance with the call’s purpose and project field
  • The relevance, quality, and importance of the proposed project, including the extent to which the project is based on existing knowledge in the field
  • The project’s potential for sustainability (such as collaboration or partnerships with existing institutions and established actors) and its scalability (such as the size and relevance of the target group the project will reach)
  • The project plan’s overall sustainability and feasibility to be implemented – including a plan for evaluation, expected creation, and sharing of knowledge
  • The qualifications and capacity of the main applicant and the applicant’s institution
  • The qualifications of the combined partnership, including in research terms (including dissemination of research) and the practice-oriented qualifications in support of the call’s purpose

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