Study on the Need for Food and Health Research Infrastructures in Europe – EuroDISH
Total Budget: € 2,000,000
Consortium: 15 partners
Duration: 1 Sept 2012 – 31 August 2015
Europe faces a major uphill battle due to increases in diet-related public health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes. Improving health through lifestyle, food and nutrition can help combat such issues, but requires high quality research to design effective strategies. To this end, EU-wide Research Infrastructures (RIs) are essential. Research collaboration, innovation, and capacity building are essential to efficiently benefit from the – mainly public – research resources.
The EuroDISH project assessed the current needs for food and health research infrastructures in Europe. EuroDISH focused on the integration of existing food and health RIs, as well as the development of new ones. It considered the needs of different stakeholders, such as EU and national policy makers, and researchers from a range of disciplines in both the public sector and industry. EuroDISH research is organised around the ‘DISH’ model: ‘Determinants, Intake, Status and Health’. This model represents four key building blocks of food and health research as well as different stages of RI development
The EuroDISH project was developed in three phases:
- Mapping existing RIs and identify gaps, needs and governance issues;
- Integrating findings within and between ‘DISH’ pillars, by defining larger entities of required RIs and identifying new arising gaps and needs;
- Developing a conceptual design with a roadmap for implementation.
Role of ILSI Europe
ILSI Europe was mainly involved in the ‘Methodological Support’ work package, facilitating the work across EuroDISH to ensure the integration of the results and thus enhance their usability. ILSI Europe was responsible for the organisation of three EuroDISH stakeholder workshops. The first workshop, entitled ‘Mapping Food and Health Research Infrastructures’, was held on 17-18 June 2013 in Brussels, Belgium, and aimed at critically evaluating the reports created within EuroDISH to map RIs’ status quo in Europe as well as evaluating the gaps and needs for new food and health RIs. The second workshop, titled ‘Outlining the European Research Infrastructure for the Food and Health Domain – EuroDISH perspective on Synthesis and Governance’, was held on 19-20 May 2014 in Brussels, Belgium, and aimed at discussing the integrated findings of EuroDISH in order to refine proposed RIs and to identify arising gaps, needs and governance issues. The outcome of both workshops served as a basis to develop a conceptual design for RIs with a roadmap for implementation. The third stakeholder workshop on ‘EuroDISH Perspective on Conceptual Design and Roadmap’ took place on 3-4 February 2015. It aimed at (i) critically evaluating and optimising the EuroDISH conceptual design and roadmap and (ii) enhancing the acceptance and use of the results by stakeholders. The final conference of EuroDISH was held on 15 May 2015 at the EXPO Milano 2015 ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’.
The EuroDISH project mapped existing RIs in a systematic way and identified the needs for these future RIs. Mapping was done for each domain of research related to food, nutrition and health: Determinants, Intake, Status and Health (DISH). This project was important as cutting edge research is needed to understand the role of food and nutrition in maintaining health and preventing disease, and to improve the effectiveness of strategies in combatting diet-related societal challenges.
The future RI should connect high quality data to innovative and standardised tools across research disciplines, and provide services supporting scientists and stakeholders, education, and capacity building. The DISH-RI should be a European overarching RI that is specific for studying food in relation to nutrition and health and that connects the currently fragmented pieces of research on determinants, intake, status and health.
The work carried out in the project were used to develop recommendations to inform the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and future European funding programmes, as well as other stakeholders, for food and health RI development. The work will strengthen research on food, nutrition and health, assist policy makers and increase exploitation of the scientific evidence base towards enhanced competitiveness of the EU food industry.
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EuroDISH phase 2 workshop ‘Outlining the European Research Infrastructure for the Food and Health Domain’
19-20 May 2014, Brussels, Belgium