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Distinguished Innovator Grant – Fall 2022

Call opens
1 August 2022
Call closes
22 September 2022 2:00pm (CET)
Announcement of results
December 2022
Application guidelines


The purpose of the Distinguished Innovator Grant is to accelerate commercialization of research findings and development of novel technologies.

The Distinguished Innovator Grant is aimed for senior faculty members or researchers with a proven track record within innovation, i.e., previous experience of academic innovation projects and experience with establishing patents and spinouts from the academia.

About the grant


Up to DKK 6 million per grant.


Nordic region


Committee for Exploratory Pre-Seed Grants


For grant inquiries
Pål Fernvall
Grant Manager
+45 2089 9681
Karin Hultman
Senior Scientific Manager, PhD
+45 41727935

Areas of support

The Distinguished Innovator Grant seeks to support research within life science, i.e., medtech, industrial biotech, or pharma, and to stimulate the evaluation of ideas that may lead to the development of health technologies, medical treatments, disease prevention, diagnostic methods, devices, and technological platforms.

A particular focus for the Distinguished Innovator Grant is to provide the support needed to succeed with the project maturation, i.e., support from experts within legal counsel, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Furthermore, the grant is focused on the role of the applicant as an ambassador for Innovation within academia.


The research project must comprise a main applicant and has the option of including co-applicant(s) when deemed relevant. Rules of eligibility are outlined in more detail below:

The Main Applicant:

  • The main applicant must be a senior faculty member or researcher employed at a research institution or hospital/clinic in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, or Sweden).
  • It is required that the main applicant has a personal proven track record within innovation, i.e., previous experience of academic innovation projects and experience of establishing patents and spinouts from the academia.
  • It is required that the main applicant will act as an ambassador for innovation within academia and engage younger researchers and the surrounding innovation ecosystem.


  • Co-applicants can be included in the project, but not required.
  • Co-applicants may come from the same hosting institution as the main applicant or from a different university, hospitals, or research institutions locally and abroad.

Hosting Institution:

  • A Distinguished Innovator Grant must be administered by a non-profit organization.
  • A Distinguished Innovator Grant cannot be given to a company.
  • Projects from incubator development programs and projects where IPR is owned by a university’s holding institution, are eligible to apply if:
    • The administrating institution is the university
    • The project and its findings are anchored in academia
    • The project has not resulted in the establishment of a company (given company has not established a CVR/company number)

Project Scope:

The Distinguished Innovator project idea and focus must be directly linked to improving the lives of patients and health of people. Applications in which the project idea is not directly linked to patients or health of people, will receive an administrative rejection during the initial screening process of applications.


A total of DKK 60 million is available for funding in 2022.

Each grant can be of maximum DKK 6 million for a period of 3 years.

Application process

The application should be completed and submitted using the Foundation’s application system.

It is important to carefully read the “Information and guidelines for applicants”, accessed via ‘How to apply’ above, before initiating the application process, as this document contains the complete call, as well as detailed instructions for the application.


Grant listings

All the projects we have funded are listed here. You can customise your search by grant year and category and use free text search.

Unsolicited inquiries

We receive a great number of inquiries, expressions of interest and applications outside of our open calls. To facilitate an effective assessment, unsolicited inquiries, expressions of interest and applications for the Novo Nordisk Foundation should be received according to guidance below.