Apply for grants

Novo Nordisk Foundation reports on the impact of its activities in 2021

Societal impact of the Foundation’s philanthropic and commercial activities summarised in an annual report

Every year, the Novo Nordisk Foundation measures the impact of its activities on society. The impact measurements help to ensure that the Foundation lives up to its own objective of supporting research, innovation and other purposes to benefit people and society and that the Foundation’s funds are managed in the most appropriate way.

The results are published in the Foundation’s annual Impact Report. As the latest report for 2021 shows, the Foundation measures the societal impact of not only the Foundation’s philanthropic activities but also its commercial activities. In addition to the Foundation awarding grants for many types of projects and initiatives within science, health, sustainability and social and humanitarian purposes, the Foundation’s fully owned subsidiary Novo Holdings A/S manages the Foundation’s ownership of the Novo Group (Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S) and regularly invests in many life science companies.

Thomas Alslev Christensen, Senior Vice President of the Foundation’s impact measuring and monitoring department, says: “At the Novo Nordisk Foundation, we attach great importance to continually measuring the impact of our activities. In this way, we can determine what works and what does not, thereby ensuring that the initiatives we launch have the greatest possible benefit for people and society.”

The 2021 Impact Report documents the following societal impact:

  • The Foundation’s grants have fully or partly financed more than 6,400 scientific posts, including 2,600 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows.
  • Of the 129 spin-out companies that have been created over the years with the support of the Foundation’s research grants, 76 were established in the period 2017–2021.
  • The Steno Diabetes Centers in Denmark treated more than 21,000 patients in 2021, five times the number treated during the launch year of 2016.
  • Since 2016, the Foundation’s research grants have resulted in 148 patent applications or patents, 93 clinical trials and 216 medical products and services.
  • More than 2,500 patents have been approved as a result of the commercial activities in the Novo Group and Novo Holdings’ other portfolio companies.
  • The Novo Group and Novo Holdings’ portfolio companies accounted for 40 million users of pharmaceutical products (an increase of 22% since 2020), more than 40 million users of medtech products and 640 health tests (an increase of 28% since 2020).

The Foundation deploys a wide range of parameters when measuring the impact of its activities on society. As the report for 2021 also shows, the impact is not only measured from year to year but also typically over several years. The reason is that creating measurable results often takes time, especially in research and innovation. For the same reason, many of the Foundation’s investments and commitments are also long term.

Read the report
Read more about the societal impact of the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s philanthropic and commercial activities in 2021 in the full report here.

Further information

Rikke Nørding Christensen
Senior Impact Partner, PhD
+45 3067 4823  [email protected]