EFSD / Novo Nordisk Foundation Future Leaders Award Programme

Deadline for submission of applications: 18 March 2024


About the EFSD

The European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD) was created by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) to provide funding initiatives in all areas of diabetes research. The aims of EFSD are to encourage and support research in the field of diabetes, to rapidly diffuse acquired knowledge and to facilitate its application.

About the Novo Nordisk Foundation

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an independent Danish foundation with corporate interests. The Foundation 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 Novo Nordisk Foundation is to improve people’s health and the sustainability of society and the planet.

Rationale and Intended Purpose

Young investigators face a major challenge in the transition from postdoctoral/clinical fellow to their first tenured faculty position. It is hard to gain significant and truly independent funding at this career stage, yet such support is critical to advance up the academic ladder, especially in Europe. Action is needed now to avoid a generation gap that would severely compromise future European excellence in diabetes research.

The EFSD/Novo Nordisk Foundation Future Leaders Award Programme is intended to

  • Identify outstanding clinical and basic scientists in European diabetes research at a critical stage in their career
  • Support them in their transition to a tenured academic appointment in diabetes research in Europe
  • Foster their development into the leaders of tomorrow.


Candidates for an EFSD/Novo Nordisk Foundation Future Leaders Award will already have a track record of excellence and achievement in their chosen area of diabetes research. They must demonstrate through their published work (with clear indication of the role of the applicant), previous competitive (national and international) funding, membership of editorial boards, teaching and extra-curricular activities and any other relevant information that they have the aim and potential to become part of the next generation of leaders in European diabetes research.

Applicants must have received their highest degree (PhD, MD) no more than 12 years before the start of the EFSD/Novo Nordisk Foundation Future Leaders Award Programme. For clinicians holding more than one qualifying degree (e.g. MD/PhD) or with a clinical specialist degree/board certification, the time since the first degree may not exceed 12 years before the start of the award.

Applicants must work in a university or hospital, or another non-profit research institution in any country in the European region or its associated countries throughout the tenure of the Grant, and should provide clear evidence of their intention to pursue an academic career in Europe (for detailed country list, please see here).


Up to four awards will be made each year with a start date of 1 October. EFSD and the Novo Nordisk Foundation reserve the right to predetermine the respective number of clinical and basic scientists receiving awards.

Awards will be of 5-year duration subject to satisfactory progress.

Awards (to both clinicians and basic scientists) will be made in a total amount of up to Danish Kroner (DKK) 5 million (~ €670,000) to be paid to the awardee’s institution in 5 annual installments of up to DKK 1 million (~ €134,000).

Depending on individual needs and as justified in a detailed budget, funds may be used to cover part or all of the awardee’s salary, other salaries (i.e. technician or postdoctoral fellow) and direct research expenses.

The Grant may include administrative support, which constitutes an amount of up to 5% of the total Grant to cover expenses related to the administration of the Grant, specifically regarding accounting, controlling, auditing and reporting. All grant agreements will be made between the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the awardee’s place of employment. The Grant may not be used to cover any overhead expenses.

The first annual installment will be payable in full at the start of the award.

In subsequent years, awardees will submit an annual scientific progress and financial report 2 months before termination of each funding year to EFSD and Novo Nordisk Foundation. This will be evaluated by an independent committee of experts selected by the EFSD (the Review Committee) and continued funding will be dependent upon satisfactory scientific progress and involvement in recommended associated activities (see below). In the event of unsatisfactory performance, EFSD and the Novo Nordisk Foundation may decide to terminate funding.

In addition, every year, awardees will submit a report on the project outcomes (including activities and recognitions as mentioned below) to EFSD and Novo Nordisk Foundation. These reports on the longer-term outcomes of the award, and specifically on the awardee’s academic career, will be submitted for up to five years after the project has finished.

Awardees are required to submit a final scientific and financial report at the end of their award.

Associated Activities and Recognition

All awardees will be expected to serve as ambassadors for the Programme throughout the course of their award, performing several dissemination activities. This includes but is not limited to:

  1. Oral presentation once for each awardee at the “EFSD/Novo Nordisk Foundation Future Leaders Symposium”, an integral part of the scientific programme of the EASD Annual Meeting.
  2. Attendance at stand-alone meetings to be organised by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
  3. Teaching faculty of EASD postgraduate education courses.
  4. Visits to schools or universities to promote diabetes research as a career opportunity.
  5. Public communication of science at local or international events.
  6. Participation in special press events organised by EFSD and/or the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
  7. Awardees are further expected to participate in the EASD Annual Meeting in the year of the award to make a first personal connection with EFSD and Novo Nordisk Foundation representatives.

The Awardees shall be announced and recognised at the EASD Annual Meeting during the EFSD/Novo Nordisk Foundation Future Leaders Symposium.

Application Process

All applications must include:

  • A letter of motivation from the candidate to include career plans, a brief description of the scientific project and a summary of previous scientific achievements.
  • A strong letter of support from the candidate’s institution with a well-defined long term career plan to include specific mention of terms of employment during the 5-year period of the award and details of direct financial support for research to be made available.
  • For clinical scientists, a clear commitment from the academic institution and/or associated hospital will be required to guarantee them sufficient time to pursue their research project.
  • Two letters of support from senior scientists outside of the candidate’s institution.
  • A description of the research project to be undertaken during the course of the 5-year award with a clear timeline and deliverables.
  • Curriculum vitae from the applicant including list of publications with clear indication of the role of the applicant, awards and honours, previous competitive funding, membership of editorial boards and leadership committees, teaching and extra-curricular activities.
  • Detailed budget.

All written applications will be reviewed by the Review Committee. Applications may be subjected to pre-review (or triage) procedures where all applications will be reviewed and scored by up to three members of the Review Committee who have declared no conflict of interest. The most competitive (highest scored applications) will be taken forward to full review. Only candidates reaching the full review stage will receive a written critique.

Based on evaluation of the written application, the Review Committee will draw up a shortlist of leading candidates for teleconference interview and final funding decisions will be based on evaluation of the written application and performance at interview.

The deadline for receipt of applications for funding this year is 18 March 2024.

All budgets are to be prepared in DKK. Awards will be payable in this same currency and will NOT be adjusted for any alteration in the exchange rate between DKK and the local currency in the place of the award. The exchange rate (between DKK and the local currency) used for calculating the DKK budget must be mentioned under “Budget Justification”.

Application forms may be downloaded here:

Application Form

All applications must be prepared on the official EFSD application form and completed in strict accordance with the detailed instructions to be found there. Applications which do not comply with the instructions given will not be considered for review.

Please send your application as one complete PDF email attachment to foundation@easd.org by 12:00 midday (CET) on the deadline date 18 March 2024.

Review Considerations

Applications will be evaluated by the Review Committee in accordance with the following criteria (in no particular order):

  • Motivation and career plan
  • Excellence of the scientific project
  • Past experience and evidence for leadership potential
  • Previous and current competitive research funding
  • Awards and honours
  • Membership of editorial boards and leadership committees of national or international organisations
  • Letters of support
  • Performance at interview


The award must be acknowledged in all publications, scientific presentations or participation in any of the above activities as: “Supported by an EFSD/Novo Nordisk Foundation Future Leaders Award” and through a unique Novo Nordisk Foundation grant number.

Administration and funding

The Programme will be administered by EFSD, including the application, review and yearly evaluation processes.

Awards will be paid to the awardee’s institution by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.


Announcement: December 2023

Application Deadline: 18 March 2024

Anticipated Award: July 2024


Enquiries should be directed to foundation@easd.org.