How do we improve preparedness against future pandemics? How can we improve the prevention of and treatment for diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease? And how do we accelerate the green transformation of agriculture and food production while putting the brakes on climate change?
These questions are at the heart of the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s efforts under its new plan in the years to 2030.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, the world-wide spread of diabetes and the climate changes emphasise the need for a global effort to safeguard people’s health and boost the green transformation,” says Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation, who adds:
“The recent invasion of Ukraine has also exposed our dependence in the energy and food sectors and demonstrates that sustainable alternatives need to be developed fast to ensure energy and food security. These are some of the key challenges we will address in years ahead.”
In health, the Foundation will focus on prevention of and treatment for cardiometabolic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease that threaten public health in countries worldwide, being the principal cause of human deaths.
“We have become significantly better at treating people with these diseases but still have much to learn about why some people develop them and others do not. Improving knowledge in this field can also contribute to creating greater equity in health, both in Denmark and globally. Another urgent health need is improving preparedness for new virus pandemics and the increasing antimicrobial resistance,” explains Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen.
In sustainability, one urgent challenge is how to feed a growing global population while mitigating further climate change.
In the years ahead, the Foundation will therefore enhance its support for research and innovation that can accelerate the green transformation in such areas as agriculture and food production while developing knowledge and technologies that can help to arrest climate change. One example is developing technology and methods for capturing, storing and recycling carbon dioxide as a valuable raw material.
World-class life sciences in Denmark
Research, innovation and new technology are the basis for society to implement the green transformation and to achieve major advances in health. The Foundation will therefore strive to ensure a world-class life sciences ecosystem in Denmark by supporting the entire value chain, including natural science education for children and adolescents, supporting the development of new research talent and already established researchers at universities and establishing new research-based start-ups. In addition, the Foundation will support the establishment of research infrastructure that both researchers and companies can use to create and scale up new solutions and products.
Denmark is a natural focal point for the Foundation’s grants, but the Foundation will increasingly focus on international activities in the coming years.
“Global challenges require global solutions and international cooperation. In the years ahead, the Foundation will therefore launch several large-scale initiatives that involve major partners collaborating across sectors, research disciplines and national borders,” says Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen.
The Foundation expects annual grants to exceed DKK 10 billion (€1.3bn) in the years to 2030.
Watch film with Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen talking about the Foundation’s new strategy.
Focus areas for the Foundation’s grants under the 2030 plan
The Foundation’s health initiatives will target research and innovation that contribute to:
The life sciences value chain
About the Novo Nordisk Foundation
The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an enterprise foundation with philanthropic objectives established in Denmark in 1924. The vision of the Foundation is to improve people’s health and the sustainability of society and the planet. The Foundation’s mission is to progress research and innovation in the prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic and infectious diseases as well as to advance knowledge and solutions to support a green transformation of society. www.novonordiskfonden.dk/en