Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Novo Nordisk Foundation focuses on research within plant biology to encourage sustainable food production

The Novo Nordisk Foundation recently earmarked DKK 1.8 billion (€241 million) for continuing its Challenge Programme for a further 5 years. One of the three themes for 2018 is research within plant biology, a new grant area for the Foundation.

The world is expected to have almost 10 billion people in 2050. Feeding this growing population is a major challenge for the agricultural system, which will have to both increase food production and reduce the impact of production on the environment and climate change.

Through its Challenge Programme, which seeks answers to global challenges within health and technology, the Foundation is now focusing on research within plant biology that can contribute to more stable, resource-efficient and sustainable food production. Under the theme Modern Plant Science – towards a Sustainable World, the Foundation’s support may include research projects seeking to create new knowledge on the plant microbiome or projects developing crops that can resist flooding and drought.

“This Challenge Programme theme is aimed at research and the use of plant science and biotechnology to reduce malnutrition and to improve human health through sustainable farming,” says Niels-Henrik von Holstein-Rathlou, Head of Research and Innovation Grants, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Plant biology is a new grant area for the Foundation. The theme was selected because, in the years ahead, the Foundation wants to make a greater contribution to a more sustainable society. In June, the Foundation announced that it intends to quadruple its payouts to projects that can improve the lives of people and the sustainability of society over the next 5 years.

The Challenge Programme was established 5 years ago, and the Board of the Foundation recently earmarked DKK 1.8 billion (€241 million) for continuing the Programme for the next 5 years.

The theme Modern Plant Science – towards a Sustainable World is one of three themes in the 2018 Challenge Programme. The other two are: Emerging Infectious Diseases and How Dietary Factors Affect the Human Microbiome.


About the Challenge Programme

The Foundation’s Challenge Programme focuses on in-depth research targeting specific global challenges based on research themes chosen annually. The grants of DKK 60 million each are awarded over 6 years and provide research groups with the opportunity to carry out research on an important problem within the themes chosen.

The approach can be interdisciplinary and is not limited to a specific research method or discipline. The project must be based at a university, hospital or other non-commercial knowledge institution.


About the Novo Nordisk Foundation

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an independent Danish foundation with corporate interests. It has two objectives: 1) to provide a stable basis for the commercial and research activities of the companies in the Novo Group; and 2) to support scientific, humanitarian and social causes.

The vision of the Foundation is to contribute significantly to research and development that improves the lives of people and the sustainability of society. Since 2010, the Foundation has awarded grants totalling more than DKK 16 billion (€2.2 billion), primarily for research at public institutions and hospitals in Denmark and the other Nordic countries as well as research-based treatment and prevention of diabetes. Read more at www.novonordiskfoundation.com.


Further information

Christian Mostrup Scheel, Senior Press Officer, phone: +45 3067 4805, cims@novo.dk