Apply for grants

Pioneer Innovator Grant

Call opens
11 January 2024
Call closes
13 March 2024 2:00pm (CEST)
Announcement of results
August 2024
Recurring calls
Expected August 2024
Application guidelines


The purpose of the Pioneer Innovator Grant Sustainability & Health is to accelerate the commercialisation of research findings and the development of novel technologies within sustainability or health. 

Both areas of the Pioneer Innovator Grants seek to support novel academic science-based discoveries with commercial potential. The grant aims to stimulate the evaluation of ideas and to support experiments and activities leading to proof-of-concept or beyond. 

About the grants


Up to DKK 1 million per grant.


Nordic region


Committee on Novo Nordisk Foundation’s Innovation Grants


For the questions regarding the Health call, - contact Signe Daugbjerg. For the questions regarding the Sustainability call, - contact Charlotte Schöller.
Pål Fernvall
Senior Grant Lead
+45 2089 9681 [email protected]
Charlotte Schöller
Senior Scientific Manager, PhD
+45 25460280 [email protected]
Signe Daugbjerg
Senior Scientific Manager, PhD
[email protected]

Areas of support

The Pioneer Innovator Grant Sustainability seeks to support innovative research within agriculture, food, industrial and environmental biotech*, carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies as well as nitrous oxide and methane emissions, and quantum technologies. The intent is to stimulate the evaluation of ideas that may lead to the development of new products or systems, devices and technological platforms in relation hereto. Particular focus will be placed on projects covering sustainable and high yielding agriculture, sustainable food for healthy diets, and climate change mitigation technologies to support the green transition.

The Pioneer Innovator Grant Health seeks to support innovative research within med-tech, industrial biotech*, pharma as well as quantum technologies. Furthermore, the intend is to stimulate the evaluation of ideas that for example could lead to the development of new medical treatment, disease prevention, diagnostic methods as well as new health technologies, devices and technological platforms. Particular focus will be placed on projects covering cardiometabolic diseases** as well as infectious diseases and preventive solutions hereto.

The projects described must have a clear outlook to scaling potentials and later commercialisation possibilities. 

*According to the OECD definition of biotechnology: 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.

** Cardiometabolic diseases including for example: heart attack, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease.



The research project must comprise a main applicant and has the option of including co-applicants when deemed relevant.

The Main Applicant:

  • The main applicant must be a faculty member, a researcher or a student employed at a university, hospital, or other research institution in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, or Sweden).


  • 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 different university, hospitals, or research institutions locally and abroad.

Hosting Institution:

  • A Pioneer Innovator Grant must be administered by a non-profit organization.
  • A Pioneer 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 Pioneer Innovator project idea and focus must be directly linked to improving the lives of patients and health of people or sustainability. Applications in which the project idea is not directly linked to such scope will receive an administrative rejection during the initial screening process of applications. 


The total grant budget is DKK 70 million in 2024, to cover both the Health and the Sustainability areas. Each granted project can receive a grant of up to DKK 1 million for one year. 

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, before initiating the application process, as this document contains the complete call, as well as detailed instructions for the application. 


Grant listings

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Managing a grant

Read more about how to manage a grant and what general information you need as a grant holder.