The Foundation moves to new headquarters in Hellerup

The Foundation’s secretariat and Novo A/S, which manages the commercial activities, are combined under one roof at Tuborg Havnevej in Hellerup north of Copenhagen.


Novo Nordisk Foundation makes major strategic grants

The Foundation awards major strategic grants for the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen (DKK 885 million); the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Biology, DanStem, University of Copenhagen (DKK 350 million); and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark (DKK 700 million). These three grants account for 90% of the total grants of DKK 2.197 billion awarded in 2010.


Novo Nordisk Foundation launches new Exploratory Pre-seed Grants initiative with Novo Seeds

The Novo Nordisk Foundation launches a new Exploratory Pre-seed Grants initiative with Novo Seeds. The programme targets research communities in the Nordic region and aims to accelerate the early commercialisation of application-oriented research discoveries and ideas within biomedicine and biotechnology that have the potential to be turned into new diagnostic methods, therapies, assistive devices and technologies.


Positive trend in the financial results of the Novo Group companies

The positive trend in the financial results of the companies in the Novo Group enables the Foundation to increase its annual grants significantly in the coming years. The Foundation’s Board therefore decides to increase the total annual payouts to about DKK 850–900 million by 2014. The Foundation’s grants include establishing the Danish Diabetes Academy (DKK 201.88 million over a 5-year period). The Academy strives to produce new knowledge about diabetes and new ways to prevent and treat diabetes and offers PhD, postdoctoral and professorial fellowships, for which all diabetes researchers in Denmark and abroad can apply.


Strategy for grants, 2014–2018

Sten Scheibye becomes Chairman of the Board of Directors on March 19, replacing Ulf J. Johansson. In autumn 2013, the Board adopts a strategy for grants for 2014–2018 that doubles funding for medical and biotechnological research in Denmark over the next 5 years from about DKK 900 million to DKK 1.6 billion annually. This is achieved through special PhD programmes and bridge-building scholarships to top universities around the world, by increasing the grants awarded in open competition and by strengthening these by offering grants over 3 years rather than over 1 year.


Novozymes and EASD prizes established

The Board establishes the first major international award, the Novozymes Prize, which aims to raise awareness of basic biotechnology and applied research. The Prize is awarded to recognize a predominantly European and pioneering research effort or a technological contribution that promotes the development of biotechnology science to generate innovative solutions. The Committee on the Novozymes Prize awards the Prize on behalf of the Foundation based on nominations received. The Prize, which is awarded annually, is accompanied by DKK 5 million: DKK 4.5 million for the Prize recipient’s research and a personal award of DKK 0.5 million. The second international prize established in 2015 is the EASD–Novo Nordisk Foundation Diabetes Prize for Excellence, which is awarded to an international researcher for outstanding scientific contributions that have increased our knowledge of diabetes.


The Foundation launches impact assessment

In 2015, the Foundation launches impact assessment to monitor the research activities supported by grants from the Foundation. This is achieved through systematic reporting of all supported research activities in an online system, Researchfish. In the first year, 99% of the Foundation’s grant recipients reported about 8,000 activities for the period in which their grants have been active. About 2,000 scientific publications were reported published in 2015. Most are articles in scientific journals but also books, book chapters, dissertations and others. The plan is that this registration also eventually enables assessment of the societal impact of the grants, such as jobs created, new treatment methods and economic growth.


Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen established

The Capital Region of Denmark and the Foundation agree to establish Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, to ensure that people with diabetes receive world-class person-centred treatment. As part of the agreement, Novo Nordisk A/S transfers the existing Steno Diabetes Center to the Capital Region. In the years up to 2020, a new building is being constructed at Herlev Hospital to accommodate the new Center. The Foundation funds the construction of the building and the operating costs of the supplementary treatment of people with diabetes, clinical research, health promotion and education at the Center, with the capacity to treat 11,000–13,000 people annually. In 2016, the Foundation awards DKK 2.9641 billion for developing Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen and for operating the Center from 2017 to 2029. The grant is followed up in 2017 with agreements with Denmark’s other administrative regions for grants of DKK 3.6 billion to establish Steno Diabetes Centers that also support person-centred diabetes treatment regionally in Denmark.


BioInnovation Institute approved

The Foundation awards grants totalling DKK 411.1 million for developing the BioInnovation Institute, a major centre to help the best researchers and entrepreneurs to develop and mature research projects to a point at which they can attract funding on market terms. The BioInnovation Institute is a national initiative with an international outlook to be physically located in Copenhagen to create synergy with existing research communities and laboratory facilities. The Bioinnovation Institute awards grants for research projects that have the potential to improve health, combat diseases, conserve natural resources and find new solutions to benefit society and individual people. In 2017, the Foundation allocates DKK 19.1 million for establishing the Bioinnovation Institute and allocates an additional DKK 392 million to cover the implementation phase in the period 2018–2020, with a mandate to implement and further develop the initiative over a 3-year period, focusing on transition and incubation.


New strategy adopted: Benefiting people and society

Lars Rebien Sørensen becomes the new Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation on 1 July 2018. He also chairs the Foundation’s investment company, Novo Holdings A/S. The Foundation adopts its 2019–2023 strategy, Benefiting people and society, under which, with Denmark as the focal point, the Foundation focuses on improving people’s lives by improving health and education and developing a knowledge-based, sustainable society. The six strategic focus areas are: i) biomedical and health science research and applications; ii) patient-centred and research-based care; iii) life science research and industrial applications promoting sustainability; iv) natural and technical science research and interdisciplinarity; v) education, outreach and innovation; and vi) social, humanitarian and development aid. The first major initiative in the last area is a grant to support LIFE, a new major non-profit learning centre to make free science education available to schools across Denmark. A Foundation grant of DKK 123 million covers the start-up costs of LIFE for the first 2 years. After this, the Foundation intends to award grants of up to nearly DKK 1.6 billion to fund LIFE’s activities for the next 10 years.


The Foundation launches the Novo Holdings REPAIR Impact Fund

As part of the Foundation’s new strategic focus on sustainability, the Foundation awards DKK 203 million for a new international research project to kickstart the next green revolution. The research will create new knowledge on the microorganisms that coexist with plants. The goal is to create more productive crops that can help ensure sufficient food for a growing world population. This is the first major Foundation grant within plant research. Commissioned by the Foundation, Novo Holdings launches the REPAIR Impact Fund with total capital of DKK 1 billion to invest in early-stage drug development companies to combat antimicrobial resistance. The Fund is expected to invest DKK 120–240 million annually over 3–5 years on about 20 projects in Europe and the United States. The hope is that the REPAIR Impact Fund’s investment will lead to developing new drugs to treat infections that are resistant or risk becoming resistant to the antibiotics available today.