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DKK 360 Million Allocated for the Challenge Programme 2017 – Application Round Opened

The Novo Nordisk Foundation awards up to DKK 360 million annually under the Challenge Programme, comprising up to six grants of DKK 60 million each.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has opened the 2017 application round for its Challenge Programme. The Programme gives exceptional researchers the possibility to establish smaller, collaborative centres with a unifying vision and mission on a research topic within biomedicine or biotechnology.

Up to DKK 360 million is awarded annually for up to six grants of DKK 60 million each. The long-term funding over six years allows scientific depth and focus, and synergy between the research partners.

The 2017 themes are “Big Data in Biomedicine” and “Design and Engineering of Biological Molecules and Systems”.

“Big Data in Biomedicine”
Today, a single researcher can generate more DNA-sequence data than a network of major sequencing centers were able to generate a decade ago. However, without the proper tools or programmes to sort and analyze the data it is more or less useless. The theme focusses on development of novel methods for handling, analyzing and using large amounts of data.

“Design and Engineering of Biological Molecules and Systems” 
The theme focusses on development of novel bio-tools, such as small molecule enzyme analogues or next-generation drugs, and on solving challenges within bio-design and -engineering in microorganisms, mammalian cells or plants.

Examples of research topics under each theme is available in the Programme guidelines, click here.


For both themes, the research must be in-depth, but the subject can be cross-disciplinary, and should not be considered limited to any particular research methodology or discipline. The projects must be based at a Danish university, hospital or other non-profit research organization.

“With the Challenge Programme, the Novo Nordisk Foundation aims to encourage and facilitate world-class research focusing on finding answers to present challenges in global technology or health. We hope to receive many applications for funding within this year’s important themes,” says Niels-Henrik von Holstein-Rathlou, Head of Research and Innovation Grants at the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The Challenge Programme was established by the Foundation in 2013 with the first grants awarded the year after. The themes of the Programme change from year to year. The aim of the Programme is to contribute to strengthening and developing Denmark’s biomedical and biotechnological research environment.

Read more about the Programme and the application process here.