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Novo Nordisk Foundation increased payouts by 30% in 2018

The Novo Nordisk Foundation paid out DKK 1.7 billion (€228 million) in 2018 for projects that benefit society. This was a 30% increase compared with 2017, when the Foundation paid out DKK 1.3 billion (€175 million). In the coming years, the Foundation plans to further increase its payouts and expand the scope of its grants to more areas.

In 2018, the Novo Nordisk Foundation paid grants for numerous projects across a broad range of fields including the medical and natural sciences, the treatment and prevention of diabetes, biotechnology, development and innovation and social and humanitarian causes.

In 2018, the Foundation received 2614 applications and awarded 463 grants.

“The projects we support must have the potential to improve the lives of people or the sustainability of society. In 2018, we supported more projects with greater funding than ever before,” says Birgitte Nauntofte, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

One of the Foundation’s new initiatives in 2018 is the establishment of LIFE, a major not-for-profit learning centre that will provide science education resources free of charge to schools throughout Denmark.

Another new initiative is a significant expansion of the Foundation’s Research Leader Programme, which supports research leaders at all stages of their careers. Grants are awarded based on the applications submitted to the Foundation in open competition. Once fully implemented, the Programme will support 240 research leaders.

Read more in the Novo Nordisk Foundation Grant Report 2018.

Novo Group driving the growth in payouts
The financial results of the companies in the Novo Group and the other companies the Foundation owns in full or in part, including especially Novo Nordisk A/S, have again enabled the Foundation to increase its payouts significantly in 2018. When the companies deliver good results, the Foundation can donate more money to benefit people and society.

In 2018, the Foundation also adopted a new strategy for its activities over the next 5 years. The ambition is to increase the annual payouts to about DKK 5 billion (€671 million) by 2023 – almost triple the amount paid out in 2018.

“Our ambition is to increase our payouts over the next 5 years. We will also significantly broaden the scope of our grants beyond what we have been known for. We will continue to support research, treatment and development that can improve people’s lives. We will now also focus more intensively on areas that can contribute to the sustainability of society,” says Birgitte Nauntofte.

The Foundation’s annual payouts (20142018)
2018: DKK 1.7 billion
2017: DKK 1.3 billion
2016: DKK 1.1 billion
2015: DKK 914 million
2014: DKK 733 million

The Foundation’s grants and annual payouts (20142018)
The Novo Nordisk Foundation awarded grants totalling almost DKK 3.9 billion (€523 million) for new projects in 2018. 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 1.7 billion (€228 million) paid out in 2018 therefore includes payouts for both existing grants from previous years and new grants awarded in 2018. The graph below shows the amounts awarded and paid out over the past 5 years.



Challenge Programme
The Foundation once again awarded DKK 360 million through its Challenge Programme, which focuses on such issues as important global health challenges. The funds were awarded in open competition for six major research projects within protein chemistry, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and obesity. The grants will be paid out over 6 years.

National Genome Centre
The Board of Directors of the Foundation has earmarked a framework grant of DKK 990 million (€133 million) over 4.5 years for establishing and operating the infrastructure of Denmark’s National Genome Centre, an independent organization under Denmark’s Ministry of Health. DKK 102 million of this has been awarded to begin setting up the Centre’s data and information technology unit in early 2019. In addition, the Foundation has awarded a grant of DKK 30 million to enable the Ministry to involve leading experts from Denmark and elsewhere to prepare a resilient project plan for establishing and operating the infrastructure of the Centre. The goal of the Centre is to create opportunities for improving and targeting treatment services for numerous disease areas to benefit individual patients. 

Bioinnovation Institute
The Bioinnovation Institute awarded DKK 67.5 million to 14 entrepreneurs in 2018. The Foundation established the Institute at the end of 2017 with the remit of supporting innovative entrepreneurs and talented researchers in further developing research projects and new solutions that benefit society. 

Science education and outreach
The Foundation awarded DKK 100 million for 19 projects within science education and outreach. This was the first time the Foundation awarded grants in this area based on the applications submitted to the Foundation in open competition. The Foundation received 202 applications.

Strengthening research on metabolism
The Foundation awarded DKK 700 million to the University of Copenhagen to strengthen the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, which was established in 2010. Based on outstanding research results and an exciting and ambitious 5-year plan, the Foundation decided to award further funds to strengthen the Center’s research and international profile.

Nationalt Elitesport Center
The Foundation awarded DKK 100 million to Team Danmark for establishing a national elite sports centre. The aim is to strengthen Denmark’s competitiveness within international elite sports and to create new knowledge on physical activity that can benefit the general public.

Steno Diabetes Center Zealand
The Foundation awarded a grant of DKK 835 million for establishing Steno Diabetes Center Zealand, which became the fifth specialized diabetes centre in Denmark the Foundation has funded. The aim of the Center is to have fewer people develop diabetes and to ensure that people with diabetes have a longer and higher-quality life with fewer complications. The Foundation has awarded a total of DKK 7.375 billion (€990 million) for establishing Steno Diabetes Centers. The funds will be paid out over 10 years.

Further information

Christian Mostrup Scheel, Senior Press Officer, phone: +45 3067 4805, [email protected]