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Grants to Encourage Young People’s Interest in Science

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded grants to two projects that encourage young people to become more interested, knowledgeable and curious about science.

The Foundation has awarded DKK 9 million for establishing a ScienceTalent Academy in 2016–2020 – a study programme for talented science students studying at upper-secondary schools in Denmark.

The talented young students will have the opportunity to develop and discover their potential through seven talent camps with high scientific ambition, close collaboration with companies and research centres and a work-experience stay abroad. The programme will run in parallel with upper-secondary school and will provide talented science students challenges that many of them lack in school.

This new programme will inspire and engage talented young people, thereby giving them the impetus to continue improving their scientific skills and pursue a career in the field. The study programme will also contribute to creating additional links and collaboration in the education chain between upper-secondary schools, universities, researchers and business.

The project organizer is ScienceTalents, which is based at the Mærsk Science Center in Sørø. Since 2010, ScienceTalents has very successfully promoted science talent among children and 12–20-year olds in Denmark.

In addition, the Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded DKK 500,000 towards preparing and holding the European Union Science Olympiad (EUSO) in Copenhagen in 2017.

Like the olympiads in biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics, EUSO is a competition between the most talented students from the participating countries. However, EUSO differs from the other olympiads by being a multi-subject team competition in which participants are tested for their knowledge and competencies within biology, physics and chemistry. The competition is aimed at the youngest upper-secondary school students (younger than 17 years of age) with the goal of stimulating young people at an early stage in their education to sustain their interest in the natural sciences.

The EUSO has been held since 2005, and most countries in the European Union are now represented. EUSO 2017 will takes place 7–14 May. The event is being organized by EUSO Denmark in collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark; the University of Copenhagen; the Danish Association of Biologists; the Danish associations of teachers of mathematics, physics and chemistry; the City of Copenhagen; and the Ministry for Children, Education and Gender Equality. His Royal Highness Prince Joachim is the patron of EUSO 2017.


Nynne Afzelius, talent manager, ScienceTalents says:

“ScienceTalents seeks to strengthen the education chain by developing a new study programme. We want to establish active collaboration with upper-secondary schools, companies, research centres and universities working together to inspire and engage talented young students. Doing this will provide the impetus for them to continue improving their scientific skills and pursue a career with the aim of making a difference.”

Hans Marker, Chair, EUSO 2017 says:

“Young people today have numerous study options, so stimulating and expanding their interest for science subjects is important if they are to decide to make a career in science. The EUSO highlights new and exciting aspects of the natural sciences. Previous participants tell us that competing in the EUSO represents a tremendous opportunity for scientific development and is a great social experience for young people.”

Birgitte Nauntofte, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation says:

“In addition to supporting research, the Novo Nordisk Foundation wants to support activities that occur earlier in the research chain. The ScienceTalent Academy and EUSO 2017 are exciting initiatives that encourage young people to become more interested, knowledgeable and curious about science and technology. Retaining Denmark’s strong position within the health sciences and natural sciences requires encouraging more young people to take up a career as researchers and innovators within science.

Learn more about ScienceTalent Acadamy here.

Learn more about EUSO 2017 here.


The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an independent Danish foundation with corporate interests.

The objective of the Novo Nordisk Foundation is twofold: to provide a stable basis for the commercial and research activities conducted by the companies within the Novo Group and to support scientific and humanitarian purposes.

Since 2007, the Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded more than DKK 6 billion (€804 million) to support research, innovation and education of the highest international quality within the health sciences and biotechnology, primarily at universities and hospitals. The aim is to support the evolution of a science-based society that contributes to long-term economic activities and job creation with a view to improving the health and welfare of people.


Mie Berggreen Høj, project manager, ScienceTalents, +45 41 16 54 00, [email protected]

Hans Marker, Chair, EUSO 2017, [email protected]

Christian Mostrup Scheel, Press Officer, Novo Nordisk Foundation, +45 30 67 48 05, [email protected]