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Novo Nordisk Foundation focuses on alternative sources of protein for tomorrow’s food production

Proteins from plants, fungi and microorganisms must replace the demand for animal-based protein in our foods. The Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Programme will support research that will work towards achieving this goal.

Increasing strain on global natural resources combined with a greater need to feed a growing world population require fundamentally changing how food is produced.

Instead of focusing on animal protein, we need to become much better at understanding how to use and process the protein found in plants and microorganisms in our food production systems.

To meet this need, the Novo Nordisk Foundation is focusing in 2021 on how to use alternative sources of protein for tomorrow’s food production through its Challenge Programme, which seeks answers to global challenges within health or technology. Applications may be submitted for up to DKK 60 million per project.

“Several alternative sources of protein, such as plants and microorganisms, have much lower environmental impact than livestock production. In many cases, however, we lack important knowledge on how to process these types of protein so that they can be used as food on a large scale. This theme therefore focuses on research that seeks to understand and modulate the functional and structural properties of protein derived from plants and microbes so that we can replace animal protein,” says Claus Felby, Senior Vice President, Biotech, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

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

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, [email protected]

Sisse Marquina-Jongberg, Scientific Manager, +45 7242 2557, [email protected]