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Novo Nordisk Foundation awards DKK 348 million for research to develop new solutions to global societal challenges

Six researchers are receiving grants for research over the next 6 years that will advance our knowledge on biodiversity; quantum technology for developing new solutions within the life sciences; and how to utilize biomass residue in the green transition.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is awarding DKK 348 million through its Challenge Programme to six innovative research projects that will develop solutions to many global challenges within health and technology.

Of the DKK 348 million, the Foundation has allocated just over half, DKK 179 million, for research on biodiversity. This funding of three projects represents the largest total amount awarded so far for research on biodiversity in Denmark.

The three projects all focus on the relationship between biodiversity and the use of agricultural land, including how to use afforestation as an instrument in combatting climate change by sequestering carbon in trees but also how to use the resulting forests as habitats for species that can help to strengthen biodiversity. Read more about these three grants here.

The Foundation has awarded two grants totalling DKK 108.6 million for developing quantum technology; the recipients will discover new knowledge on complex biological processes and biomolecules that can be used for developing new drugs or energy-efficient materials. Read more here.

Finally, the Foundation has awarded a grant of DKK 59.9 million for a project that will discover new knowledge on fungal degradation of biomass, one of the tools to exploit waste and biomass residue in the green transition. Read more about the project here.

“We want to use these six grants to turbocharge three extremely promising research fields. The grants provide an opportunity for some of Denmark’s most talented researchers to work together to develop new and innovative solutions to some of the major societal challenges we face, whether in the life sciences or the green transition. We look forward to following all the projects,” says Birgitte Nauntofte, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Recipients of 2020 Challenge Programme grants

Trine Bilde, Professor, Department of Biology, Aarhus University: The Missing Link: Unravelling the Role of Genetic Variation of Beneficial Arthropods in Agro-ecosystems (DKK 59.1 million)

Signe Normand, Professor, Department of Biology, Aarhus University: SustainScapes – Sustainable Solutions for Maintenance of Biodiversity and Production across Landscapes (DKK 60 million)

Per Gundersen, Professor, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen: Silva Nova – Restoring Soil Biology and Soil Functions to Gain Multiple Benefits in New Forests (DKK 60 million)

Peter Lodahl, Professor, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen: Solid-state Quantum Simulators for Biochemistry (Solid-Q) (DKK 60 million)

Matthias Christandl, Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Copenhagen: Quantum for Life (DKK 48.6 million)

Katja S. Johansen, Professor, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen: Oxygen Constraints on Microbial Secretomes during Plant Cell Wall Turnover (OxyMiST) (DKK 59.9 million)

About the Novo Nordisk Foundation 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 annually selected research themes. The Foundation has just opened for applications for the 2021 Challenge Programme, focusing on how cross-disciplinary research can solve the challenges of tomorrow related to disease and food.

Further information

Sabina Askholm Larsen
Senior Communications Partner
+45 2367 3226 [email protected]