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The Novo Nordisk Prize – Advances in medical science

The Novo Nordisk Prize recognizes an active scientist who has provided outstanding international contributions to advance medical science for the benefit of people’s lives. The Prize is intended to award and further support biomedical research in Europe.

The Prize is of DKK 5 million (appr. EUR 672,000) and consists of a DKK 4,5 million (appr. EUR 605,000) research grant and a personal award of DKK 0,5 million (appr. EUR 67,000). The Foundation will grant an additional DKK 0,5 million for hosting an international symposium within the recipient’s field(s) of research.


The Foundation welcomes nominations by individual researchers and by research institutions including academic and industrial institutions, and research funding agencies. To be evaluated by the Novo Nordisk Prize Committee, nomination must be submitted electronically via the nomination form. The nomination and review processes are confidential.


  • Nominees must demonstrate scientific excellence that has led to a major discovery or breakthrough in understanding of human health and disease, prevention, diagnosis and/or treatment of the disease.
  • Nominees must have a current position and an active research program at a public, non-profit research institution and/or in a company based in a European country.
  • Nominees must serve as inspirational leaders and role models for young scientists.
  • Nominees may have any nationalities.
  • Nominators (individual or institution) are not limited in number of nominations.


  • Self-nominations are not accepted
  • Nominators cannot be family members
  • The prize may not be awarded to members of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Board or committee members or to Board members, directors or employees of the Novo Group.

Prize Lecture and Ceremony
After official announcement of the Prize, the recipient gives a lecture at his/her workplace, sponsored by the Foundation. The Foundation’s collaborating partners and the recipient’s guests are invited to the prize ceremony in April, where the prize recipient introduces his or her research for 15–20 minutes. The ceremony takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark.

History of the Prize
The prize, originally DKK 50,000, was first awarded on 16 February 1963. Since then, the amount awarded gradually increased. The prize was called the Novo Prize from 1963 until 1989, when it was renamed the Novo Nordisk Prize. Until 2020 the Prize was given for a Danish contribution. In 2020, it has been decided to change the geographical scope of the prize and from 2021 the prize is awarded for a European contribution.

The 2022 Novo Nordisk Prize
The Novo Nordisk Foundation awarded the 2022 Novo Nordisk Prize to Katalin Karikó, Özlem Türeci, Drew Weissman and Uğur Şahin for their pioneering scientific discoveries and research contributions that have led to the approval and launch of the first COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. Read more here.

See interview with Katalin Karikó, Özlem Türeci, Drew Weissman and Uğur Şahin here.

See previous recipients

Further information
Novo Nordisk Foundation Scientific Secretariat
+45 3527 6603

April 8th, 2022