EuroDISH

News

Press release: Europe needs a better infrastructure for food and health research

Press release: Europe needs a better infrastructure for food and health research


Europe needs a world-class research infrastructure to help researchers better understand the relationship between food, nutrition and health. The EuroDISH project, which is EU-funded (Sep 2012-Aug 2015), produced a roadmap for the deployment of an overarching European food and health research infrastructure by 2025. The project’s results were presented at the Expo in Milan, in Italy, on Friday 15 May 2015.

While the agricultural, food and health sectors have advanced research infrastructures to perform cutting-edge science, the relationship between food, nutrition and health requires more synchronisation. The link-up of standards and data on the intake of food and food-choice determinants will enable faster progress. Therefore, there is a need for an overarching European research infrastructure for ‘determinants, intake, status and health’ — also known as the DISH-RI.

“The EuroDISH RI will contribute to capacity development of food, nutrition and health RIs that are relevant for public health nutrition strategies across Europe. This will enable improving the overall quality of the European population’s diet, nutritional status and health.” Professor Mirjana Gurinovic (Research team leader-nutrition at CENM and member of the EuroDISH Project Advisory Board)

The project’s final results were presented on 15 May 2015 in the EU pavilion of the Expo Milano 2015, in Italy. During its three-year duration, EuroDISH has mapped and defined RIs in four areas of research related to food, nutrition and health; identified as determinants, intake, status, health (DISH). For each area, gaps and needs were identified:

  • RIs in the research field of ‘status’ and ‘health’ are emerging.
  • There are major opportunities to improve RIs in the research field of ‘determinants’ related to intake of food. 
  • There is no specific RI that serves the needs of the food and health research community over the DISH research fields as a whole.

Based on those findings, EuroDISH proposed a unique RI (named ‘DISH-RI’) with the aim to connect and overarch existing infrastructures across the four areas for the advancement of food and health research in Europe. The goal is for the DISH-RI to be fully operational within 10 years, for which stakeholder support as well as funding at both member state and EU level is required. The DISH-RI will link knowledge of what determines consumers’ food and lifestyle choices to what is known about people’s dietary intakes, their nutritional status, and their overall health, to improve healthy lifestyle strategies. It will enable research for better understanding of the behaviour of consumers concerning food intake and lifestyle, including emerging opportunities in ICT and neuroscience. It will connect high-quality data to innovative and standardised tools across different research disciplines. Finally, the DISH-RI would help to connect research on food production and health to address Europe’s societal challenges and will foster product innovation and increase competitiveness.

“DISH-RI is needed to connect currently fragmented pieces of research on determinants, intake, status and health (DISH). The project has outlined the steps needed for the DISH-RI to be fully operational by 2025.”Professor Pieter van ‘t Veer, Wageningen UR, Scientific Coordinator of EuroDISH

It will also provide services that support scientists and stakeholders for education and capacity building. Not only will the DISH-RI support the research community, but also policy makers and professionals, while increasing the impact of public health nutrition strategies and improve the health of all Europeans. In-depth discussions with stakeholders supported the development of the DISH-RI, which would allow public-private partnerships that accommodate different interests.

“The mapping as performed by EuroDISH contributes to the actions needed to establish a European Nutrition and Food Research Institute as envisioned by the Joint Programming Initiative 'A healthy diet for a healthy life’.”Jolien Wenink (Project Manager JPI-HDHL and member of the EuroDISH Project Advisory Board)

The EuroDISH project proposes for the structure of the DISH-RI to be based upon the ‘hub-and-spoke’ model, with a central coordination hub and connected expertise from different countries. An ICT platform will support standardisation, talking similar languages and using comparable formats for data, to better connect research. A central access point will provide services to researchers, stakeholders, and related RIs. In addition, a governance structure will provide the conditions for access for public or private partners, such as membership, ownership, privacy, enabling flexibility as researchers will be able to innovate by sharing data.

Notes:
The project EuroDISH (Studying the need for food and health research infrastructures in Europe) has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration (contract n°311788). The project started on 1 September 2012 and lasted for a duration of three years.

EuroDISH is dual-led and split into clear responsibilities but combined within the same organisation, Wageningen UR. The Project Coordinator is Krijn Poppe of LEI Wageningen UR. The Scientific Coordinator is Professor Pieter van ’t Veer of Wageningen University (WU, The Netherlands). Karin Zimmermann, of LEI Wageningen UR is the project manager.

The consortium of 15 partners covers a wide range of areas of expertise (e.g. psychology, bioinformatics, epidemiological research, and analysis of food composition and food consumption), from seven countries: the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy and Sweden. The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) is responsible for communication and dissemination of EuroDISH results and activities.

Media contact:

Karin Zimmermann, BSc, RM
LEI Wageningen UR
Research area Consumer & Behaviour
P.O. Box 29703
NL-2502 LS The Hague
The Netherlands
Phone: +31 70 3358185
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This article has been translated, click below to read it in other languages.
French: L'Europe a besoin d'une meilleure infrastructure de recherche sur l'alimentation et la santé

Italian: L'Europa necessita di una migliore infrastruttura per la ricerca su alimentazione e salute
Dutch: Europa heeft een betere infrastructuur nodig voor onderzoek naar voedsel en gezondheid
Swedish: Europa behöver en bättre infrastruktur för livsmedels- och hälsoforskning
Danish: Europa har brug for en bedre infrastruktur for fødevarer og forskning isundhed