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Mathematical modelling will advance understanding of the mechanisms underlying health and disease

Mathematical modelling is an important tool for predicting the trajectory of disease outbreaks; for example, in connection with a virus pandemic. The Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Programme seeks to support cross-disciplinary research with the aim of developing mathematical models that help to improve understanding of the mechanisms underlying health and disease.

Mathematical models are a formidable tool for describing complex biological systems, including identifying the mechanisms that determine whether and how a disease develops. For example, in the COVID-19 pandemic, mathematical models are being used to identify the most important mechanisms for containing the disease and to advise on how a specific intervention can affect transmission.

To understand the basic mechanisms of health and disease, the Novo Nordisk Foundation is focusing in 2021 on developing mathematical models through its Challenge Programme. The models may be supported by experimental data and should contribute to improving understanding of fundamental biological and human processes relevant to health and disease. Applications may be submitted for up to DKK 60 million per project.

“Mathematical modelling is essential for understanding the mechanisms that influence human health and disease. With this theme, we seek to support research on developing mathematical models that can bridge space and time scales from single molecules to entire ecosystems. This requires a cross-disciplinary effort involving knowledge from mathematics, physics, biology and the health sciences,” says Niels-Henrik von Holstein-Rathlou, Senior Vice President, Biomedicine & Health Sciences, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Mathematical Modelling of Health and Disease is one of the three themes of the Challenge Programme 2021. The other two are: Smart Nanomaterials for Applications in Life Science and Proteins for Tomorrow’s Food.

About the Challenge Programme
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Programme was established in 2014. Since then, the Foundation has awarded more than DKK 100 million every year for ambitious research projects that focus on global challenges. Based on a thematic approach, the Challenge Programme targets research projects that address some of society’s major challenges.

In 2021, the Foundation is awarding up to DKK 360 million across the three themes, and applications may be submitted for up to DKK 60 million per project. Read more about the Challenge Programme here.

Further information

Sabina Askholm Larsen, Communications Partner, +45 2367 3226, sla@novo.dk

Jens Peter Holst Lauritsen, Scientific Manager, +45 3527 6648, jlrt@novo.dk