June 7, 2024

Novo Nordisk Foundation grants DKK 427m through its 2024 Research Leader Programme

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Leader Programme aims to support researchers at various stages of their careers, providing them with the necessary resources to conduct groundbreaking research. Since 2018, more than 240 researchers have received grants.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has allocated DKK 427 million in grants through its 2024 Research Leader Programme, supporting 41 exceptional research projects across a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines.

The recipients represent a diverse range of institutions from all over Denmark as well as the other Nordic countries, including Aalborg University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark, Karolinska Institute, University of Helsinki, Danish Cancer Society and University of Copenhagen.

Recipients are typically awarded approximately DKK 10 million each for five-year programmes.

This year’s Programme also includes two recipients who have each been awarded DKK 20 million for seven-year programmes, specifically to support international recruitment. These larger grants, within the Bioscience and Basic Biomedical research area, are designed to attract top talent from around the world by facilitating their relocation to Denmark. This budget comes from the previous “Young Investigator Awards” call, now merged with Ascending Investigator grants within the Bioscience and Basic Biomedical area, highlighting the Foundation’s continued support for recruitment at this career stage.

“This substantial grant allocation reflects our dedication to supporting high-quality research that can drive scientific discovery and innovation,” said Martin Ridderstråle, Senior Vice President of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

“We believe that by investing in these promising projects, we are enabling researchers to pursue their most ambitious ideas and make meaningful contributions to their fields.”

The 2024 grants cover five key research areas:

  • Endocrinology and Metabolism Research: DKK 99,7m for 10 grants.
  • Clinical and Translational Research: DKK 98,5m for 10 grants.
  • Bioscience and Basic Biomedical Research: DKK 150m for 13 grants.
  • Plant Science, Agriculture and Food Biotechnology: DKK 39,4 for 4 grants.
  • Industrial Biotechnology and Environmental Biotechnology:
    DKK 39,5 for 4 grants.

This year’s research topics include harnessing “Touch” responses in plants to improve yield and sustainable agricultural practices, novel biotechnology for improved nitrous oxide mitigation, and nitrogen retention in agricultural soils – NON2O and chromatin mechanisms of neurodevelopment and disease.

“The diversity of the projects we are funding highlights our commitment to a wide range of scientific inquiries, from biomedical research to applied clinical studies and innovative biotechnology,” added Ridderstråle.

“Each grant recipient has demonstrated exceptional potential to advance our understanding and create solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges.”

About the Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Leader Programme
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Leader Programme offers three types of grants tailored to different career stages:

  • Emerging Investigator: For researchers establishing their research groups.
  • Ascending Investigator: For associate professors consolidating their research profiles.
  • Distinguished Investigator: For internationally recognised professors.

Feedback from previous grant recipients underscores the Programme’s impact. One of them states:

“The grant was essential for developing the current research directions in my lab. The results obtained during this grant also boosted my ability to obtain additional funding. It was highly instrumental to the development of my career, both academically and research-wise. The 5-year duration of the grant also allowed me to develop a more complex research strategy with high-risk high-gain components.”

Since the establishment of the Research Leader Programme in 2018, the Foundation has awarded more than DKK 2.4 billion to over 240 researchers. This milestone highlights the significant role the Programme plays in supporting scientific talent and fostering innovation.

Read more about each of this year’s grant recipients as well as previous years’ recipients at the Research Leader Programme website.

Further information
Christian Mostrup, Head of Press, Novo Nordisk Foundation,, +45 3067 4805