Apply for grants

How do we work?

We support research, innovation, patient treatment and humanitarian and social causes through a wide range of grants. We also award numerous prizes that promote science and education.
Global challenges require global solutions and international collaboration. In the coming years, we will therefore initiate several major projects involving partners working across sectors, research disciplines and national borders.”
Søren Nedergaard
Chief Operating Officer, Novo Nordisk Fonden

Our five grant-giving models

We have different models for how we award grants for activities.

Open-competition grants

We regularly award research grants through open calls advertised to the academic research community. Researchers can apply for funding for their research projects in open competition for a limited number of grants.

Most grants are for shorter-duration projects focused on the proposed project itself. However, other types of grants include longer-duration research leader grants awarded to researchers at different career stages, which focus both on the project and on the applicant’s own opportunities to develop as a researcher.

In addition to our three strategic focus areas – health, sustainability and a strengthening of the life science ecosystem – we also support humanitarian initiatives and research in art history. You can read more about the specific open competition grants under “Apply for grants”.

Stand-alone grants

We award stand-alone grants within our focus areas. Decisions to award grants are based on peer review of the project or initiative.

These grants can include project grants, research leader grants, investigator grants or fellowships, infrastructure grants, collaborative research programmes, educational platforms, research centres and others.


These grants are awarded for engaged collaborations with public and/or private partners.

Impact investments

These grants target companies, such as start-ups, often as loans and investments, to support activities with a positive societal impact. The Repair Impact Fund is an example.

Own initiatives

Grants for own initiatives typically start as local units of the Foundation but are then spun out – for example, as independent foundations – after approval by the Board of Directors. The BioInnovation Institute Foundation and the LIFE Foundation are examples of own initiatives.

Portfolio Board

The Foundation’s Portfolio Board monitors and evaluates our ongoing grant programmes and initiatives as well as our pipeline projects. The purpose is to ensure that our portfolio of activities across the focus areas serves to fulfil the Foundation’s strategic goals and that they achieve the expected impact.

Open competition

Grants in open competition

We award grants in open competition across a wide range of areas within science, education and outreach, sustainability, innovation as well as social and humanitarian initiatives. We announce our calls for applications on our website.

Read more

Our prizes

We annually award a number of prizes to people who have made a special contribution in scientific research or science education.

Read more