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Novo Nordisk Foundation establishes LIFE as an independent foundation

The science educational initiative, LIFE, is now being established as a not-for-profit foundation with corporate interests. Jesper Fisker, Managing Director of the Danish Cancer Society, will chair the Board of Directors of the LIFE Foundation, which will have several prominent figures from the education sector as members. Christine Antorini, Denmark’s former Minister of Children and Education, who has led the development the initiative since 2018, will become the LIFE Foundation’s CEO.

LIFE is building an organization that will collaborate with companies and knowledge institutions to develop and deliver research-based science education to support the general education in schools within the framework and academic goals that have been adopted politically. These efforts have now progressed to the extent that the Novo Nordisk Foundation has decided to establish LIFE as an independent foundation.

“The establishment of LIFE as an independent foundation will provide the optimal framework for this to become a nationwide, long-term and sustained educational initiative, especially targeting primary and secondary schools, that can contribute to strengthening the knowledge of and fascination for science among children and adolescents,” explains Birgitte Nauntofte, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has just decided to establish the LIFE Foundation and is expected to award a grant of up to DKK 272 million for the years 2021 and 2022.The Novo Nordisk Foundation intends to award the LIFE Foundation grants of nearly DKK 1.9 billion in the first 10 years.

In close collaboration with companies, research communities and schools, LIFE develops science education courses in which students carry out enquiry-based learning related to some of the greatest societal challenges the world faces – from eradicating hunger to sustainable transformation in industry. The purpose of the LIFE Foundation is to contribute to improving science education, training and research and to reinforce motivation and interest in science among children and adolescents.

Board members from the education sector
When the LIFE Foundation is established, it will have a Board of Directors with extensive experience from the education sector and the natural sciences. Jesper Fisker, Managing Director of the Danish Cancer Society and a former State Secretary of Denmark’s Ministry of Children and Education, will chair the Board.

“I very much look forward to the work in the coming years, in which we will further develop LIFE to become a high-tech, experimental and realistic educational option for both current students and the next generations of children and adolescents – from childcare centres through primary and lower-secondary schools to upper-secondary schools,” says Jesper Fisker.

Other members of the Board of Directors include Martin Tvede Zachariasen, Vice Chancellor, Management Section, IT University of Copenhagen; Jette Rygaard, Principal of Vesthimmerland Gymnasium and HF; and Per Falholt, Chairman of the Board of Governors, Technical University of Denmark.

Extraordinary opportunity for students and teachers
The science teaching courses from LIFE support general education and are made available free of charge to interested schools throughout Denmark. Students attending the courses, which are developed based on cases from companies and research institutions and support the Sustainable Development Goals, carry out enquiry-based learning using experimental learning materials and digital learning aids and in advanced laboratory facilities. All courses comply with the politically determined frameworks, such as Denmark’s Common Objectives in primary and lower-secondary schools.

”With LIFE, we want to offer something extraordinary, so that we can work together to boost the learning and motivation of children and adolescents in the natural sciences. The teaching courses are an opportunity to explore and experiment with science in completely new ways – such as with enzymes, sensors, special bacteria and advanced laboratory facilities, which are not normally available in schools. Our ambition is to develop 30 LIFE courses for childcare centres, primary and lower-secondary schools and upper-secondary schools by 2030,” explains Christine Antorini, CEO, LIFE Foundation.

In 2020, LIFE has launched three science teaching courses for primary and lower-secondary schools and inaugurated the MY:LIFE digital learning platform. Bookings for the LIFE Mobile Lab truck, which will visit schools from January 2021, have also been opened. In 2021, LIFE’s new campus in Kongens Lyngby will also open, and LIFE’s first regional laboratory will be established. In addition, four more LIFE courses for primary and lower-secondary schools and for upper-secondary schools are expected to be launched in 2021.

LIFE stands for Learning, Ideas, Fascination and Experiments.

Further information:

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, Novo Nordisk Fonden
Phone: 3067 4805, e-mail: [email protected]