Novo Nordisk Foundation

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Novo Nordisk Foundation
Novo nordisk foundation Logo.png
Founded1989; 32 years ago (1989) in Denmark
HeadquartersHellerup, Denmark
FieldsLife-sciences, natural sciences, social sciences
Endowment$59.89 billion USD (411 billion DKK) in 2019[1]

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an international foundation focusing on medical treatment and research. In 2019, the foundation had a net worth of $59.89 billion (411 billion DKK), making it the largest financial endowment of any foundation in Denmark [2] and the largest endowment in the world. Novo Nordisk Foundation owns Novo Holdings A/S, a holding company and majority shareholder of Novo Nordisk.[3]

In 2019 the foundation awarded $0.71 billion (4.9 billion DKK) and paid out $0.52 billion (3.6 billion DKK).[4]

Since 2010, the foundation distributed more than 1.3 billion US dollars for research, innovation, treatment, education and humanitarian and social purposes.[5] The Foundation typically distributes more than 300 million US dollars each year to research within the fields of Life sciences and Bioscience.[6] While the main focus lies within biomedicine and biotechnology research, the Foundation also awards grants for research in general practice and family medicine, nursing and art history.


In 1922, Danish professor August Krogh received a permission to produce insulin in the Nordic countries. This sparked the development of new diabetes treatments and the beginning of a Danish business and export venture. Several foundations were also established which have subsequently merged into the Novo Nordisk Foundation.[7]

In recent years, the Foundation has increased its focus on innovation, diabetes treatment and grants for humanitarian and social purposes. In 2016 the Foundation awarded a little over 420 million US dollars to the Capital Region of Denmark to establish Steno Diabetes Center in Copenhagen, a diabetes treatment and research institution.[8][9]


The Novo Nordisk Foundation is the primary owner of Novo Nordisk A/S and NovoZymes A/S through the foundation's subsidiary company Novo Holdings A/S.[10] Aside from Novo Nordisk and Novozymes, the foundation is also a major shareholder in more than 75 other companies. The foundation's financial endowment is maintained by dividends and returns on these investments.

Distribution of grants[edit]

The foundation has an objective of providing support for scientific, humanitarian and social purposes.

The grants go primarily to support research in biomedicine, biotechnology, general medicine, nursing and art history at public knowledge institutions. Humanitarian and social purposes includes the Steno Diabetes Center research hospital.[11] In addition, the Novo Nordisk Foundation also awards a number of awards each year aiming to recognize and reward individuals for "outstanding research, teaching, or other support for research".[12]

Annual distribution summary[edit]

In 2019, the foundation distributed a total of DKK 8.5 billion[13] (approx $1.29 billion).

In 2018, the foundation distributed a total of DKK 3.9 billion[14] (approx $0.59 billion).

In 2017, the foundation distributed support for DKK 5.8 billion[15][16] (approx $0.88 billion).

In 2016, the fund provided support for DKK 4.2 billion[17] (approx $0.64 billion).

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

The Novo Nordisk Foundation contributed to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020.[18]

The foundation (as of June 2020) has donated DKK 366.2 million[19] (approx $55.77 million) for corona-related measures.

  • Test centers in Denmark: DKK 250 million for 11 COVID-19 test centers throughout Denmark.[20]
  • Projects: DKK 74.9 million[21] for 43 different projects aimed at mitigating the health consequences of COVID-19 in Denmark.
  • Emergency production of ethanol: DKK 17.5 million granted in cooperation with The Carlsberg Foundation[22] for emergency production of ethanol for hand sanitizers and disinfection.
  • Research projects: DKK 6.6 million for three research projects.[23]
  • Trials: DKK 5 million[19] in support for trials for anti-inflammatory drugs against COVID-19 in collaboration with Rigshospitalet.


The current chairman of the Novo Nordisk Foundation is Lars Rebien Sørensen and Birgitte Nauntofte is the current CEO.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Form 6-K NOVO NORDISK A S For: Mar 31". Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  4. ^ Novo Nordisk Foundation 2019 Annual Grant Report
  5. ^ "Novo Nordisk Foundation Magazine 2015".
  6. ^ "Novo-fond fordobler støtte til forskning og gode formål". 18 March 2016.
  7. ^ "History".
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Inside View: Novo Nordisk Foundation". Nature. 4 November 2015. doi:10.1038/nj0470.
  11. ^ Projects we support Focus on improving people’s lives
  12. ^
  13. ^ Grant report 2019
  14. ^ Page 7 of the grant report 2018
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Board".