Monday, 30 September 2019

Novo Nordisk Foundation will support innovative research that can provide new insight into the role of metabolism in neurodegenerative diseases

As part of its Challenge Programme, the Novo Nordisk Foundation will support research on neurodegenerative diseases, with a focus on the metabolic aspects of these diseases.

Millions of people worldwide have neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. These diseases are associated with a significant decline in quality of life and life expectancy and pose a significant socioeconomic burden.

Neurodegenerative diseases are strongly age-related. As life expectancy worldwide increases, the number of people with neurodegenerative diseases is rising.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has therefore identified Neurodegenerative Diseases in an Ageing Population as one of four research themes in the Foundation’s 2020 Challenge Programme. This theme focuses on understanding the mechanisms behind the deterioration and death of neurons to improve the diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, with special focus on the role of metabolism. The total budget for this theme is DKK 120 million.

“Neurodegenerative diseases are a huge global challenge. So far, the search for a cure has not been successful, with only symptomatic treatments being available. We want to examine the diseases in a new way by supporting innovative research investigating neurodegenerative diseases from a different perspective, including the role of metabolism in the development of these diseases,” says Niels-Henrik von Holstein-Rathlou, Head of Biomed at Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Research projects in this theme may, for example, seek to understand the molecular, genetic and cellular commonalities of the neurodegenerative diseases, to understand the role of metabolism and metabolites in the development of neurodegenerative diseases or to develop novel therapies to prevent or cure neurodegenerative diseases. Applicants are strongly encouraged to include cross-disciplinary collaboration between neurologists and neuroscientists and other scientific disciplines.

About the 2020 Challenge Programme

The Challenge Programme addresses global challenges within health and technology. The Foundation is awarding 6-year grants of DKK 30 million to 60 million each under the Programme.

Read more about the research theme, the application criteria and the application process here.

For the application round of 2020, the Challenge Programme is seeking to support outstanding scientists working within one of the following four themes, with a total of up to DKK 480 million being awarded in 2020:

  • Neurodegenerative Diseases in an Ageing Population
  • Biodiversity and Productivity of Managed Ecosystems
  • The Microbial Secretome and the Plant Cell Wall
  • Quantum Simulators for Unravelling Complex Processes in Nature

The Programme will open for applications on 14 October 2019. The deadline for applications is 12 December 2019.

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 donated more than DKK 20 billion (€2.7 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

Further information

Jens Peter Holst Lauritsen, Scientific Officer, phone: +45 3527 6648,

Christian Mostrup Scheel, Senior Press Officer, phone: +45 3067 4805,