May 20, 2021

38 research leaders receive DKK 370 million to make new discoveries within health and sustainability

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has just awarded DKK 370 million under its long-term Research Leader Programme, which targets talented researchers at three career stages. The research will contribute to new discoveries within fields including health, disease and sustainability. The Foundation has awarded grants totalling DKK 1.3 billion through its Research Leader Programme.

38 research leaders have been awarded grants under the Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Leader Programme.

One project the grants will fund aims to discover new knowledge on how viruses such as influenza viruses and SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19) affect the body’s metabolism and whether their proliferation in the body can be combatted.

Another project will provide greater insight on why the incidence of osteoporosis increases with age and will test a possible treatment for the disease.

A third project will improve understanding of how to use bacteria to make crops more resistant to drought, diseases and other adverse events, thereby ensuring more sustainable food production.

“We want to give talented researchers the opportunity to pursue high-risk research ideas and test new avenues and approaches to important issues. This takes time but is often how new significant discoveries are made,” says Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The Research Leader Programme, in which the Foundation awards substantial grants of up to DKK 10 million over 5 years, supports young talented researchers, talented research leaders at the mid-career stage and established professors at a high international level.

Support for researchers at all stages of their careers
The Programme consists of three types of grants targeting research leaders at specific or typical stages of their careers. 

  • Emerging Investigator. Upcoming and promising researchers who want to establish or are in the process of establishing their own research group and research profile. 18 grants in this category have been awarded in the current funding round.
  • Ascending Investigator. Talented research leaders at the associate professor level in the process of consolidating their research group and profile. 14 grants in this category have been awarded in the current funding round.
  • Distinguished Investigator. Professors of high international standing and calibre. 6 grants in this category have been awarded in the current funding round.

See all 38 grant recipients and read about their projects here.

The Programme awards grants in six scientific areas: endocrinology and metabolic research; clinical and translational research; bioscience and basic biomedical research; data science research (grants to be awarded later in 2021); plant science, agriculture and food biotechnology; and industrial biotechnology and environmental biotechnology.

DKK 1.3 billion awarded to 143 researchers
The Foundation established the Research Leader Programme and awarded its first grants in 2018. Grants of up to DKK 10 million are awarded over 5 years.

Grants totalling DKK 1.3 billion have been awarded to 143 researchers through the Programme. Read more about the Programme and the grant recipients over the years here.

Further information
Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, +45 3067 4805,