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7 new projects get funding from the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s emergency coronavirus programme

The Novo Nordisk Foundation announces 7 new grants for coronavirus related projects in Denmark. The total funding for the new projects amounts to DKK 9.2 million.

The new projects will, among other things, focus on:

  • Disseminating the Danish health authorities’ key messages about COVID-19 among citizens with an ethnic minority background.
  • Identification of the contagion risk among recovered as well as deceased COVID-19 patients.
  • Establishing a nationwide system for safeguarding health-professional competencies.
  • Developing a dialogue procedure for teachers to implement when the pupils return to the schools after the quarantine period.

The Foundation will provide regular updates on the grants that have been given under this emergency programme. The applicants must be based at public institutions or authorities or private non-profit organizations in Denmark that are involved in combating the coronavirus epidemic. The next round of grants will be announced in a few days.

The Foundation’s support for projects relating to the coronavirus epidemic now comes to a total of DKK 52 million.

You can get a total overview over the Foundation’s coronavirus-related projects here.

Read more about the 7 most recent projects below.

Information campaign about COVID-19 aimed at ethnic minorities living in Denmark, Danish Refugee Council: DKK 2,650,000
The purpose of the project is to disseminate the Danish health authorities’ key messages about COVID-19 among citizens with an ethnic minority background. This will be done in their relevant native languages through online counselling (chat service), a hotline as well as information materials targeting residents in vulnerable areas, asylum centres etc. In addition, the project will launch a campaign on the social media aimed at young people and organize other ways of disseminating messages from the authorities, e.g. by having them read out aloud and possibly also using illustrations. The campaign will be coordinated with the Danish Health Authority and organized in collaboration with Als Research.

Assistance scheme for vulnerable children and families, Save the Children Denmark: DKK 2,337,525
The project will launch a nationwide assistance scheme for vulnerable children and families whose everyday life is challenged as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. There are families already living under difficult circumstances whose situation deteriorates critically at this stage. Volunteers at Save the Children will assist these families with shopping, activity and creativity packages to engage them in stimulating family activities, advice and guidelines for coping with this crisis, digital social contact as well as provide human contact and psycho-social support through a telephone hotline. The purpose is to safeguard the mental health and well-being among children in vulnerable families as well as to communicate the Danish Health Authority’s recommendations to these exposed citizens.

Identification of the contagion risk among recovered as well as deceased COVID-19 patients, Odense University Hospital: DKK 1,286,250
The purpose of the project is to examine for how long the SARS-CoV-2 virus remains contagious after the infection symptoms have stopped. Currently, a safety margin of 48 hours after cessation of the symptoms is being applied, but we actually do not know if this is sufficient. Moreover, there is uncertainty about the extent to which and for how long COVID-19 is transmissible from deceased persons, which is particularly relevant for personnel handling the deceased. In this project, tests will be carried out where fresh samples from living as well as deceased COVID-19 patients are transferred to lab-grown human cells. By observing the cells and taking measurements, it can be established whether the samples contain a transmissible virus. The expectation is that the project will give a more precise picture of the contagion risk in connection with this virus, and thus contribute to formulating effective guidelines for reducing the spread of the disease.

Applied Artificial Intelligence for real-time risk assessment of patients with COVID-19, Rigshospitalet: DKK 1,210,000
As the COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding, more and more patient data are generated. These can be used to develop new, data-driven decision support models for the benefit of future patients. Based on the latest knowledge about artificial intelligence (AI), analyses of patient records and courses of treatments, the project aims to create a model for estimating newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients’ risk of needing intensive care and ventilator breathing support based on the patient’s available health data. The hope is that such models can be used by frontline staff when dealing with new COVID-19 patients as well as by planners in the health service. In addition, the project will seek to identify patterns in the patient data that may form the basis for new recommendations on how best to treat COVID-19 patients in the future. The project team is centered around existing clinical and epidemiological research groups at Rigshospitalet and Bisbebjerg Hospital who have an interest in AI, with support from a team of AI experts from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen.

Establishment of a nationwide system for safeguarding health-professional competencies, Sorø Municipality: DKK 1,125,000
The project will provide e-learning facilities in a range of health-professional areas for newly recruited nursing staff in the municipalities of Denmark who, because of the COVID-19 epidemic, have an acute need of upgrading their skills before they can perform the municipalities’ nursing, health and home care services for their citizens. The platform used will ensure quick access to efficient learning without the need for physical presence. The platform will also enable management to monitor the status of the training digitally as well as get an overview of the competences that are available. Data will be collected for use in connection with similar acute situations in the future.

Acute need of counselling and information for mentally vulnerable citizens in connection with the Coronavirus epidemic, Psykiatrifonden: DKK 395,000
The purpose of the project is to upscale, with immediate effect, Psykiatrifonden’s existing counselling and information services for mentally vulnerable citizens in connection with the Coronavirus epidemic. Besides ensuring the necessary telephone and chat-based counselling, an information site will be established, providing specific and comprehensive advice on mental health during crisis situations. At the same time, the project will collect data from counselling talks, in order to be able to analyse and contribute with knowledge on what health-related consequences the Coronavirus epidemic has for people who are mentally ill or vulnerable, both now and in the future.

Back to school after the Corona pandemic, Danish Red Cross: DKK 211,732
There is a need to follow up on the extraordinary situation caused by the Coronavirus epidemic for school children across the country. In many cases, the teachers will be the first adults outside of the family to discuss the experience with the children. In order to address this, the project will develop a conversation tool that the teachers can use when the children return to school after the lockdown. The conversation tool will provide the teachers with various exercises that they can use, partly to open up to a discussion of sensitive issues and partly to make the pupils reflect on their own way of coping, once the schools reopen.

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, phone: +45 3067 4805, [email protected]