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Novo Nordisk Foundation awarded more than DKK 9.1 billion for purposes benefitting society in 2023

Focusing its support on science, education, innovation and development initiatives, the Foundation’s overall ambition is to improve human and planetary health.

In 2023, the Foundation awarded more than DKK 9.1 billion in philanthropic grants and investments and supported a total of 751 new projects.

The Foundation’s activities are guided by the belief that science and innovation hold the key to tackling some of the global challenges of our time.

“From fossil-driven climate change and broken agri-food systems to the silent pandemic of drug-resistant infections and the global spread of cardiometabolic diseases, we are committed to addressing pressing societal challenges,” says Professor Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

From development of vaccines to sustainable food production
One of its largest mission-driven initiatives in 2023 was the Novo Nordisk Foundation Initiative for Vaccines and Immunity (NIVI), a research and vaccine development initiative launched in partnership with the University of Copenhagen.

In another major initiative, seeking to address the rising global problems with food insecurity and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, the Foundation joined forces with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to set up a consortium of companies and universities for creating an innovative and sustainable method for food production.

The two initiatives reflect an ambition in recent years for the Foundation to take on an increasing number of large-scale projects with multiple partners and stakeholders in Denmark as well as internationally.

Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen notes: “A global effort is needed to address current societal challenges. That is why, in addition to important partnerships with authorities and organisations in Denmark, we are also scaling up activities and collaborations on an international level.”

Grants in open competition
Of the 751 grants given in 2023, 538 were open competition grants, totalling DKK 2,448 million.

Supporting social and humanitarian purposes
The Foundation also continued to support projects and initiatives relating to social and humanitarian purposes in 2023. As part of its long-term ambition to reduce inequities in health, the Partnership for Education of Health Professionals was launched, focusing on the education of health professionals in underserved regions of India and Kenya, in close collaboration with both international and local partners.

The Foundation’s philanthropic activities are enabled by the financial results of the companies in the Novo Group as well as the investments of Novo Holdings A/S, the Foundation’s holding and investment company, which administers the assets and wealth of the Foundation.

The DKK 9.1 billion awarded in 2023 marks an increase in grant giving from previous years:

The Foundation covers a broad range of scientific fields, including medical science, biotechnology and natural and technical sciences, supporting everything from education and basic research projects to large-scale initiatives that seek to translate scientific discoveries into scalable solutions.

The following were some of the Foundation’s significant philanthropic grants and investments in 2023:

  • The Novo Nordisk Foundation Initiative for Vaccines and Immunity (NIVI), a research and vaccine development initiative for which the Foundation committed up to DKK 1.8 billion. The aim of NIVI is to create new or improved vaccines for some of the deadliest respiratory diseases, including tuberculosis and influenza.
  • The Novo Nordisk Foundation Cellerator, a world-class facility for developing and upscaling cell therapies for testing in humans. Up to DKK 950 million was awarded.
  • Together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation committed up to DKK 200 million towards an initiative focused on utilising CO2 as a source of proteins for food production without the involvement of agricultural land use.
  • As part of its continued commitment to fighting cardiometabolic diseases, the Foundation extended its support of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research with a grant of up to DKK 1 billion.
  • Two of the Foundation’s most ambitious grant programmes are the Challenge Programme, under which DKK 378.7 million was awarded, and the Research Leader Programme, where 37 researchers received DKK 361 million in funding. Both programmes are targeted research that seeks to address major societal challenges within themes relating to human health, climate change mitigation and sustainability.

About the Novo Nordisk Foundation
Established in Denmark in 1924, the Novo Nordisk Foundation is an enterprise foundation with philanthropic objectives. The vision of the Foundation is to improve people’s health and the sustainability of society and the planet. The Foundation’s mission is to progress research and innovation in the prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic and infectious diseases as well as to advance knowledge and solutions to support a green transformation of society.

Further information
Nils Eskestad, Senior Corporate Writer, [email protected]