British Nutrition Foundation to coordinate research partnerships tackling UK diet and health challenges
The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) has been appointed by UKRI’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to coordinate the work of the Diet and Health Open Innovation Research Club (OIRC) and develop innovative food and drink solutions for some of the most pressing diet and health issues in the UK.
Funded by the BBSRC, the Department for Environment Rural Affairs (Defra), Innovate UK and the Medical Research Council, the Diet and Health OIRC will bring together researchers and experts in nutrition, food and behaviour science.
The BNF will act as a coordinator across six innovation hubs, helping researchers, industry leaders and policymakers develop “open, transparent collaborative partnerships” with each other.
Sara Stanner, Science Director at the British Nutrition Foundation commented on the news in a statement: “Diet-related diseases are the major killers around the world and nutrition research has provided invaluable evidence to help us understand how what we eat and drink affects our health. But to make a real impact this research must be translated into healthier and more sustainable products and improved nutrition.
“We’re incredibly excited to be asked to help bring together some of the top researchers in nutrition science and related fields with partners from industry to drive innovation. Collaborative working can influence the food chain from agriculture to products on shelves in order to unlock real-life benefits for people’s health and wellbeing”.
Dr Ruth Nottingham, Head of Business Engagement and Intelligence from the BBSRC added: “OIRC represents an investment of almost £15 million, created to help address critical shared barriers to innovation across the food and drink sector. The six innovation hubs will bring together world-class leaders from academia, industry and wider stakeholders to address these barriers. The coordination by the British Nutrition Foundation will enhance connectivity across the innovation hubs and ensure the findings are shared across the food system”.
The Diet and Health OIRC innovation hubs will prioritise research around five areas which include:
- Looking at the relationship between food components and human physiology.
- How biological, social and psychological factors influence food choice and eating behaviour.
- Developing functional food and drink.
- Looking at ways to improve health and nutrition with biofortification.
- Focusing on how food and drink can provide better nutrition across different stages of life.
The BNF has encouraged all parties interested in the project – from early career researchers, small and medium size food and drink enterprises, to Government, civil societies, and charities – to sign up to the relevant hubs and stay informed about future meetings, workshops, events and funding.