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Novo Nordisk Foundation awards DKK 128 million for an innovation platform at Denmark’s university hospitals

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded just over DKK 128 million for a 5-year pilot project that will strengthen innovation initiatives at Denmark’s university hospitals.

Innovation should be a fully integrated part of Denmark’s healthcare system, both in cultural and operational terms, and researchers should find it worthwhile to pursue the development of new methods and solutions for improving patient care. This is the vision for a 5-year pilot project to be run by innovation centres at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen and Aarhus University Hospital and with local innovation employees at Aalborg and Odense University Hospitals. The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a grant of slightly more than DKK 128 million for the project.

“With this investment, the Novo Nordisk Foundation wants to contribute to developing a healthcare innovation infrastructure and to deliver world-class research in Denmark to benefit patients. In Denmark, we carry out clinical research of the highest international calibre, but we have an opportunity to channel more research results into specific products and therapies. Our ambition is to catalyse an untapped potential by removing some of the current barriers to clinical innovation, thereby delivering many more new solutions to benefit patients, much faster than today,” says Mikkel Skovborg, Senior Vice President, Innovation, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The project aims to ensure that even more research results are converted into new therapies or products that can be rapidly disseminated in the healthcare system to benefit patients, employees and society, to better equip the healthcare system to meet the challenges of the future.

“We are focusing on this important work to give higher priority to the efforts to bring the benefits of research in Denmark to patients. We have long wanted to be able to offer our researchers strong and professional support for innovation, and I look forward to seeing this potential realised through the sponsorship from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Collaboration between Denmark’s hospitals and the business community will ensure that all of Denmark benefits from the solutions developed, so that they can subsequently be exported to the rest of the world and thus help millions of people,” says Poul Blaabjerg, Chief Executive Officer, Aarhus University Hospital.

Annual grants for clinicians and researchers
The initiative targets clinicians and researchers based in Denmark and will raise the level and speed of the journey from developing ideas to implementation. Through funds allocated to annual grants, clinicians and researchers will be able to apply for money for developing prototypes, validation and business development.

The projects will be assessed based on their ability to be realised, the likelihood of implementation, the potential for expansion and upscaling and the extent to which the projects create value for patients.

“Innovation is crucial for tomorrow’s healthcare system. We are on the verge of a future in which we will need to treat more patients closer to their homes. This requires new digital solutions that must be developed and tested in collaboration with employees and patients. In addition, data and algorithms are helping to accelerate the development of personalised medicine and other new types of treatment. With support from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, we as hospitals can now test a model to accelerate the spread of innovative solutions to benefit patients, employees and society,” says Per Christiansen, Chief Executive Officer, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen.

The pilot project will be launched in February 2022. In addition to the grant programme, the initiative will include an innovation academy that will offer courses and training in innovation tools. Researchers and clinicians will be equipped to understand and analyse market potential and global scaling opportunities. The projects awarded a grant will be provided with financial support, resources and networks within innovation and business and technology development. The steering groups for the two innovation centres at Aarhus University Hospital and Rigshospitalet will comprise private and public profiles with experience in innovation and implementation.

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Head of Press, Novo Nordisk Foundation,+45 3067 4805, [email protected]

Poul Blaabjerg, Chief Executive Officer, Aarhus University Hospital, +45 5131 3506

Per Christiansen, Chief Executive Officer, Rigshospitalet, +45 4080 4610