Apply for grants

We support humanitarian response initiatives that address the needs of people in vulnerable situations affected by humanitarian crisis

Humanitarian crises are affecting a historically high number of people. The most vulnerable populations are hit particularly hard and often lack access to basic needs such as food and healthcare. With our humanitarian support, we aim to save lives and reduce excess morbidity and mortality for people affected by humanitarian crises.”
Flemming Konradsen
Senior Vice President, Social & Humanitarian

Humanitarian purposes

When August Krogh received permission to manufacture insulin in Denmark, it was on the condition that the profit made from the sale of diabetes medicine should– among other things – be used for humanitarian purposes. Thus, humanitarian purposes have been enshrined in the Foundation’s Articles of Association for 100 years.

We understand “Humanitarian purposes” as meaning both development initiatives and responses to acute humanitarian crises. Our work in the area of development initiatives is covered by our strategy towards 2030 and includes reducing inequity in health as well as improving food security. Read more about these themes under “What do we support?”.

Our support for acute humanitarian responses lies outside our strategy but is mandated through our Articles of Association.

We support the response to acute humanitarian crises through two modalities: Acute humanitarian grants and humanitarian open calls.

Acute humanitarian grants

The purpose of acute humanitarian grants is to support humanitarian activities in the initial stages of large-scale emergencies to save lives and reduce excess morbidity and mortality.

Acute humanitarian grants can be activated in any large-scale, sudden-onset emergency or significantly deteriorating humanitarian crisis where the local capacity to respond does not match the scale, complexity and urgency of the emergency.

We will prioritise support for humanitarian responses with a geographical focus on East Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.

As part of the decision to provide an acute humanitarian grant, appropriate partners will be identified on a case-by-case basis with a preference given to the following humanitarian organisations that have been identified as key partners to the Foundation:

  • DanChurchAid
  • Danish Red Cross
  • UN World Food Programme (WFP)
  • Danish Refugee Council
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
  • UN World Health Organization (WHO)

Humanitarian open calls

Humanitarian needs may arise from several interrelated factors, including extreme poverty, climate change, conflict, disaster and displacement. The purpose of our humanitarian open calls 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.

The humanitarian open calls are annual calls, and the specific thematic focus may vary from year to year. The geographical focus for these calls is Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

In 2023, the Novo Nordisk Foundation awarded grants totalling DKK 46.2 million for ten projects that will inform humanitarian response through research, learning and innovation in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world. The thematic focuses of the projects are food security and health with climate change resilience as a cross-cutting approach.