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Novo Nordisk Foundation’s grants for scientific, humanitarian and social purposes set new record in 2020

2020 was a busy year for the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The Foundation increased its total annual payouts for scientific, humanitarian and social purposes to DKK 4.6 billion (€620 million) and received a record number of grant applications. The Foundation’s grants included 85 projects related to COVID-19.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation received about 4,400 grant applications in 2020 and awarded grants for 750 new projects – both figures being the highest in the Foundation’s history.

The Foundation awarded grants within many areas, including promoting the green transition, creating new knowledge about diseases, science education for children and young people, innovation and humanitarian and social causes.

“In the coming year, we are planning to increase our payouts for scientific, humanitarian and social purposes,” says Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

“We will continue to primarily focus on Denmark and the Nordic countries, but we are also aiming to support more international collaboration, since many of the challenges we face, such as climate initiatives, the green transition and health threats, are global and require international collaboration to solve,” he adds.

Coronavirus initiatives
The Foundation’s grants in 2020 included DKK 420 million for 85 projects focusing on mitigating the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including DKK 250 million for establishing TestCenter Denmark.

The Foundation also awarded DKK 330 million to the international AMR Action Fund, which will invest in small and medium-sized biotechnology companies that develop new innovative types of antibiotics. Within the green transition, the Foundation awarded a major grant of DKK 750 million to the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability at the Technical University of Denmark, which is developing new knowledge and technology that can promote sustainable solutions, especially in bioproduction.

Read highlights from the Foundation’s grants in 2020 here.

Read the full report “Benefiting people and society” here.

Companies driving the increased grants
The continued increase in grant-awarding activities is enabled by the financial results of Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S and successful investments made by the Foundation’s fully owned investment and holding company, Novo Holdings A/S. The more money the companies make, the more money the Foundation can award for scientific, humanitarian and social purposes.

Grants and payouts from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, 2016–2020

The Novo Nordisk Foundation categorizes its funding into grants and payouts. In 2020, the Foundation awarded total grants of nearly DKK 5.5 billion for new projects. The amounts the Foundation awards and pays out in a given year are not the same because the grants are often paid out over several years (equivalent to the duration of each project receiving a grant). The DKK 4.6 billion paid out in 2020 therefore covers payouts for both existing grants from previous years and new grants awarded in 2020. The graph above shows the amounts awarded and paid out over the past 5 years.

Distribution of Novo Nordisk Foundation grants in 2020

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, +45 3067 4805, [email protected]