Apply for grants

Our 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.

IP Funding Grants

We award IP Funding Grants to Danish Universities to support the creation of Intellectual Property Rights arising from projects supported by NNF. You can read more about IP Funding Grants under “Terms and Conditions for IP Funding Grants”.

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.

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 here.


Open competition

Applying for a grant

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has several funding areas, and within each area it is possible to apply for support via the Foundation’s open competition calls. Here you can read more about how to apply for a grant.

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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.

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Rules and policies

According to the Foundation’s General Terms and Conditions, all grant recipients must comply with all applicable legislation, regulations, standards and ethical norms.

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What we have supported

Find out about the projects and people that the Novo Nordisk Foundation has supported, including a list of grant recipients and more in-depth research and project features.

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What we do not support

See which areas and types of projects we are not supporting.

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Open competition

FAQ - What are grants?

Here you can find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about open competition grants.