Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare

Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare

The overall goal of the Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare is to improve health in the Nordic countries by finding solutions to societal and public health challenges through high-quality research.


 The Programme defines health and welfare in a broad perspective. Welfare in this context entails not only welfare and unemployment benefits, but also education and the labour market.

The Programme seeks to generate knowledge on the effect of demographic, social, environmental and biological factors on human health and the challenges this implies for human welfare, and to translate this new knowledge into practical solutions in healthcare and welfare systems. These efforts will lead to better specified disease classifications, more efficient cures for patients, better disease prevention and more efficient welfare systems.

The Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare aims to increase public health and welfare in the Nordic countries by:

  • Applying Nordic research and research infrastructure collaboration to address urgent societal problems related to health and wellbeing;
  • Developing new knowledge about the underlying causes of uneven distribution of health and welfare using a multidisciplinary research approach;
  • Enhancing Nordic collaboration on research infrastructures, including use of population-based registries and biobanks and efforts to achieve harmonisation at the Nordic level;
  • Exploring the use of various innovation concepts such as user-driven and open innovation to support research-driven innovation within health and welfare;
  • Adding scientific value in terms of critical mass and composition, better resource utilisation, and enabling researchers to make use of larger data sets;
  • Mobilising and qualifying Nordic research communities for participation in activities under the EU’s Horizon 2020 framework programme and Joint Programming Initiatives.


The Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare is a cooperative effort between the Academy of Finland, the Danish Council for Independent Research | Medical Sciences, the Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannís), the Research Council of Norway, the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE),  the Swedish Research Council and NordForsk. The programme was created on the recommendation of the working group NORIA-net on Health and Welfare who in 2012 advised Nordforsk to establish a large Nordic health programme.

The Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare seeks to meet the need for increased Nordic research cooperation within health and welfare as defined by various Nordic working groups or organisations: NORIA-net on Health and WelfareNORIA-net on Sport SciencesNORIA-net on Registries, and Joint Committee of the Medical Research Councils (NOS-M).

Programme Committee 

The Programme Committee comprises representatives for the participating funding organisations:

  • Erland Hjelmquist, Professor, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Chair
  • Jørgen Frøkiær, Professor, The Danish Council for Independent Research, Member
  • Sara Illman, Programme Manager, Academy of Finland, Member
  • Ása Guðrún Kristjánsdóttir, Senior Adviser, Rannís, Iceland, Member
  • Berit Nygaard, Special Adviser, The Research Council of Norway, Member
  • Peter Allebeck, Secretary General, Forte- Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, Member
  • Jan-Ingvar Jönsson, Professor, Secretary General of Medicine and Health at the Swedish Research Council, Member


The Programme encompasses several different activities, each aimed at improving health and well-being in the Nordic countries. Between 2014 and 2018, seven different calls for proposals have been issued 1) Nordic research projects on the distribution of health and welfare,  2) User research-driven innovation, 3) Construction of joint Nordic registries and databases for research purposes, 4) Register based research projects, 5) Nordic Graduate Education Courses within register-based research, 6) Innovations in Personalised Medicine: NordicPerMed, and 7) Nordic Clinical Trials on Paediatric Cancer Treatment. 

Photo:Christiaan Dirksen/


Working hours, health, well-being and participation in working life
Understanding the link between Air pollution and Distribution of related Health Impacts and Welfare in the Nordic countries
Psychosocial work environment and healthy ageing
Coming of Age in Exile (CAGE) - Health and Socio-Economic Inequities in Young Refugees in the Nordic Welfare Societies
Social inequalities in Ageing (SIA); health, care and institutional reforms in the Nordic welfare model
A Nordic Rheumatology Register Pilot to facilitate collaborative studies based on linkages of clinical data with national health
Contingent Life Courses (C-LIFE)
ActivABLES: Tangible Interaction to Support Effective and Usable Stroke Rehabilitation at Home
Nordic Microdata Access Network (NordMAN)
Symptom monitoring after hospitalisation in patients with advanced heart failure - a Nordic-Baltic study
Nordic Occupational Register – a tool for estimation of the potential of workplace and population level interventions
The socioeconomic consequences in Adult Life after Childhood Cancer in Scandinavia (SALiCCS)
Contact person
Maria Nilsson - Special Adviser and Leader of the Health and Welfare Programme
Contact person Maria Nilsson
Special Adviser and Leader of the Health and Welfare Programme
Work +47 993 80 264
Marianne Aastebøl Minge - Chief Operating Officer
Contact person Marianne Aastebøl Minge
Chief Operating Officer
Work +47 936 02 527
Facts about the programme

NordForsk has several ongoing research initiatives in the thematic area of health and welfare:

The Nordic Information for Action eScience Centre.
The centre is part of the Nordic eScience Globalisation Initiative (NeGI).

ProMeal – prospects for promoting health and performance by school meals in Nordic countries

NORIA-net on Registries.

Nordic Trial Alliance

Nordic Biobank Network

ELIXIR Nordic is a collaborative project between national bioinformatics networks in the Nordic countries.