Increased funding for research in the natural and technical sciences will contribute to discoveries and solutions that benefit health and society

28 Nov

Creating new knowledge in such disciplines as chemistry, physics, mathematics and computer science is essential for advancing and developing new solutions to several societal challenges, including sustainability.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation will therefore contribute to developing research in the natural and technical sciences in Denmark and plans to support this area with hundreds of millions of kroner each year.

“Long-term investments in the natural and technical science are crucial for Denmark to continue to be an international leader in such fields as climate change, economics, living standards and health for future generations,” says Lene Oddershede, Head of Nat-Tech, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The Foundation will support research at the highest international level in the natural and technical sciences with the aim that knowledge from these areas can provide the basis for new breakthroughs in medical science and the life sciences. Further, since many major scientific breakthroughs occur at the interfaces between academic disciplines, the Foundation will especially focus on promoting collaboration between the classical disciplines.

The Foundation has identified four focus areas for its activities.

Interdisciplinary research: The Foundation will catalyse significant breakthroughs in understanding the mechanisms that are vital for life, health and development, including in biotechnology, by supporting interdisciplinary collaboration between biologists, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, physicians, engineers and computer scientists.

Data science and mathematics: The analysis and understanding of ever-increasing quantities of data is critical to advances in most research fields. The Foundation will therefore contribute to the development of pioneering algorithms for managing and understanding big data, which can be applied in artificial intelligence, machine learning and bioinformatics.

New technologies and medicines of the future: the development of new technology has the potential to transform diagnosis and pharmaceutical treatment and the sustainability of society. By supporting the technical sciences, the Foundation aims to help to improve future treatments and diagnosis and significantly improve health and sustainability.

Quantum-based understanding of natural processes: by realizing quantum simulators and new quantum technologies, the Foundation will help to solve complex and important problems in biology, chemistry and medicine that cannot currently be solved using existing computers.

“The aim of our grants is to achieve scientific breakthroughs and new knowledge in the natural and technical sciences. This knowledge forms the basis of progress in health and sustainability and is crucial for Denmark’s competitiveness and living standards for future generations,” says Lene Oddershede.

The Foundation has just announced its first major initiatives in this area, allocating almost DKK 300 million for grants to support wild and creative research ideas under its NERD programme within the natural and technical sciences. Read more here.

In addition, the Foundation will award up to DKK 120 million for research with the aim of realizing quantum simulation of complex natural systems. This can, for example, provide new knowledge about how drugs react in the body and thereby help to optimize the development of new medicines. Read more here.

Further information

Christian Mostrup Scheel, Senior Press Officer, phone: +45 3067 4805,