In response, the new EU-funded project EuroDISH aims to assess the current state of play to eventually make advanced and feasible recommendations to the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), other stakeholders, and the HORIZON2020 programme. A major step along the way is the engagement of policy and decision makers. EuroDISH has created a special forum on its newly launched project website at www.eurodish.eu where interested parties can sign up.
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The work programme of the EuroDISH consortium is designed along the ‘DISH’ model: ‘Determinants, Intake, Status, and Health’, which represent four key building blocks of the food and health research area and different stages of research infrastructure development. 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. Professor Pieter van ’t Veer of Wageningen University and the scientific coordinator of EuroDISH, explains: “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, it will define how these gaps can be filled effectively.” Hard Research Infrastructures can be understood as toolkits or technical equipment, whereas soft Research Infrastructures refer to communication networks, methodologies and conceptual frameworks.
EuroDISH will focus on relevant innovation in research elucidating the interplay between lifestyle behaviour, dietary intake and health status, and in public health nutrition strategies across Europe. A major challenge lies in the fact that food and health research includes many disciplines and is a broad research area. EuroDISH intends to overcome this barrier.
“We will develop a roadmap for implementing the most important Research Infrastructures. It will include links with basic and human science as well as integration and collaboration with industry”, says Dr. Krijn Poppe of LEI Wageningen UR who is heading the project management team.
To ensure its recommendations are truly feasible, EuroDISH will perform two case studies designed to test pilot RIs for pan-EU nutritional surveillance and for innovative studies into the links between the four DISH building blocks.
Casper Zulim de Swarte, project manager of the Joint Programming Initiative ’A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’ (JPI-HDHL) invites policymakers to closely follow the EuroDISH project and join the debate through the forum created specifically for this purpose on the new EuroDISH website. He says “We are very much looking forward to receiving the recommendations from EuroDISH to take on board in the future development of the JPI-HDHL. EuroDISH will help European food and health research become the success it deserves to be.”
For more information, please visit www.eurodish.eu.