Apply for grants

Informing humanitarian response through research, learning and innovation

Call opens
10 January 2024
Call closes
18 April 2024 2:00pm (CET)
Announcement of results
September 2024
Application guidelines


Humanitarian needs may arise from several, interrelated factors, including extreme poverty and the effects of climate change, conflict, disaster, and displacement. The purpose of the open call is to support humanitarian actors and the humanitarian system in identifying, adapting, or integrating research, learning, and innovative approaches to improve the quality of humanitarian response and deliver better outcomes for people affected by crisis. This open call will focus on improving health outcomes and food security. 

About the grants


Up to DKK 5 million per grant.
Total grant capital DKK 35 million.


For grant inquiries
Tine Blaakær Welzel
Senior Project Manager
[email protected]
Jamie Batchelor
Grant specialist
[email protected]
For press inquiries
Tine Blaakær Welzel
Senior Project Manager
[email protected]
Jamie Batchelor
Grant specialist
[email protected]

Area of support 

With this call, the Novo Nordisk Foundation is looking for applications focusing on research, learning, and/or innovative approaches in humanitarian settings.
Applications should fall within one or more of the below sub-themes. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications that focus on both food security and health. 

Food security:

  • Improving food security in crises 
  • Strengthening the climate resilience of food systems in humanitarian operations 


  • Improving NCD prevention and management in crises including its comorbidities, such as infectious diseases 
  • Strengthening the climate resilience of health systems in humanitarian operations 

Applicants are encouraged to submit applications for projects with strategic relevance for the applicant and within their area of expertise. Applicants with a documented and existing capacity to reach people affected by crisis will be given preference. 

The focus of the call is limited to the OECD DAC List of ODA Recipients in the following geographies: sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, South Asia, and Ukraine. For the categories Lower Middle Income Countries and Territories and Upper Middle Income Countries and Territories, the applicant must describe how the project will specifically focus on people in vulnerable situations or affected by crisis from one or more of these geographies. Please see the Application guidelines for details on geographical scope. 

The open call understands research, learning, and innovative approaches in the following way: 


  • In this call, research is understood as the systematic effort to generate new knowledge, concepts, or intervention approaches to improve the outcomes for people affected by crisis. 
  • The research may include any suitable design, including operational and implementation sciences, and any appropriate methods. Data can be generated from any relevant source including the use of secondary and existing data and literature. 
  • If an application falls within the research category, the main applicant is encouraged to partner with a research institution. 
  • Regular monitoring and evaluation activities do not qualify as research. 


  • In this call, learning is understood as documentation and evaluation of new or existing humanitarian approaches and responses. 
  • Learning may include dissemination and sharing of learnings across partners and sectors. 


  • In this call, innovation is understood as an iterative process that identifies, adjusts, and diffuses ideas for improving humanitarian response. 
  • Innovation may include developing and piloting new concepts and approaches. 
  • If an application falls within the innovation category, the applicant(s) must describe the intended innovation and innovation process, and not merely state that the innovation and innovation process will be identified and developed during the project. 
  • Innovative financing will not be covered by this call. 

 Preference will be given to applications containing one or more of the following approaches: 

  • Nexus approach 
  • Localization approach i.e. strengthening the capacity and involvement of local organizations and communities in affected countries and furthering more equal partnerships 
  • Approaches which are gender sensitive or gender transformative and/or overcome barriers to inclusion 


Proposed projects must directly relate to the provision of humanitarian assistance in emergencies, disaster prevention and preparedness, or recovery. It may also pertain to the provision of assistance to people affected by protracted and complex crisis. 

International humanitarian organizations are eligible to apply. An international humanitarian organization is understood as an organization with engagements in humanitarian settings in more than one country. Main applicants are encouraged to engage research or knowledge institutions, local organizations, regional networks or similar as co-applicants. 

A main applicant may submit a maximum of two applications. If further applications are submitted, they will be disregarded. 

The Novo Nordisk Foundation will only accept applications from highly transparent organizations and institutions, whose annual reports and annual audited financial reports are publicly available. 

The Foundation also expects main applicants to have implemented a code of conduct, or similar, by which they are guided and with which they comply in accordance with ethical humanitarian and development guidelines and standards, e.g., the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS). CHS certification is not a requirement for submitting an application. And is not a requirement for co-applicants. 


A total of up to DKK 35 million is available for grants between DKK 1 million and DKK 5 million for projects lasting up to 2 years. 

The project can be an independent, delimited project or part of a larger project that receives support from other sources. If the applicant has applied for or been awarded co-funding from other sources for the project, the applicant must always state this in the budget.  

Applicants may apply for funding for direct cost functions which are the costs of all necessary and reasonable inputs associated with functions which are directly necessary to deliver a programme or project. These functions include: 

  • Project and grant management 
  • Technical delivery 
  • Quality control functions 
  • Visibility and communications 
  • Human resources and security 
  • Compliance 
  • Finance, procurement, payroll, information technology and administration 
  • External audit and evaluation 

Indirect costs may account for a maximum of 7% of the direct sub-total costs. The indirect costs may be used to cover the costs of all necessary and reasonable inputs associated with functions which are necessary to manage the applicant as a whole, provide oversight over all its activities and put into place the overarching policies, frameworks and systems that enable it to operate. 

NNF will not award funding for commercial activities. 


The application and any additional uploads must be written in English. 

Application process 

Applications must be submitted using the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s online application system, NORMA. Applications must include a brief summary of the project together with a detailed project description of up to 20,000 characters and a budget for the project. 

Please limit the number of appendices to an absolute minimum. 

Applicants are requested to read the application guidelines, ‘Information and Guidelines for Applicants’, thoroughly before initiating the application process. 

Please note that only organizational applicants are eligible for this call, which is of particular importance when creating a profile in the online application system, NORMA. 

If you experience technical issues, please contact the NORMA support team on [email protected].