The project, known as EuroDISH, will pull together experts and methodologies from various countries and topic areas in order to assess 'the current state of play' when it comes to diet and health, before eventually making 'advanced and feasible' recommendations to the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), the HORIZON2020 programme, and various other EU stakeholders and policy makers.
“To go beyond existing mappings, we will synthesise the results by integrating the needs for hard and soft research infrastructures as well as how these may be governed; as this may identify newly emerging gaps and needs,” said Professor Pieter van ’t Veer of Wageningen University, who is the scientific coordinator of EuroDISH.
“We will develop a roadmap for implementing the most important research infrastructures," explained Krijn Poppe of Wageningen UR - who is heading the project management team.
" It will include links with basic and human science as well as integration and collaboration with industry."
It is estimated that 86% of deaths and 77% of the disease burden in Europe is related to diet and lifestyle.
As a result, many researchers are working hard to identify effective intervention. However, organising food and health research in a competitive and collaborative way at the European level is essential to turn taxpayer money into benefits for all.
According to the European Science Foundation, “about 85 per cent of public research investment goes only to national endeavours.”
The 'DISH' model
The work programme of the EuroDISH consortium is designed along the ‘DISH’ model, which uses four key building blocks - Determinants, Intake, Status, and Health - of the food and health research and different stages of research infrastructure development.
These steps involve:
- Determining what drives people’s food and lifestyle choices identifies the most promising options for change.
- This then needs to be linked to people’s current and future dietary intakes,
- and how these are related to their nutritional status
- and eventually overall health.
To ensure its recommendations are truly feasible, EuroDISH will also perform two case studies designed to test pilot research infrastructures for pan-EU nutritional surveillance and for innovative studies into the links between the four DISH building blocks.
A major step along the way is the engagement of policy and decision makers in to its forum. More information can be found on the EuroDISH website.