The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon T.D., yesterday announced two new research grant awards by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The awards amount to almost €475,000 and facilitate researchers in Teagasc and UCD to collaborate on international research projects relating to nutrition in older citizens. The funded projects are well aligned with national strategic ambitions for the agri-food sector to contribute positively to citizens’ health and well-being insofar as they focus on research relating to taste, nutritional profile and health inducing properties.
Announcing the awards the Minister said,
“I am delighted to announce two new research awards for Irish-based researchers which allow them to partner and collaborate with their European counterparts in addressing an important challenge relating to the protection of health and well-being in older citizens. The projects selected for funding have a particular focus on the development of innovative food products that are aimed at the prevention of diet related disease and will help overcome issues relating to poor nutrition in older citizens.”
The awards arise under the ‘‘Joint Programming Initiative – a Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’’ (JPI-HDHL), which in 2020 issued a competitive research call seeking transnational and trans-disciplinary research proposals relating to the development of targeted nutrition for the prevention of under-nutrition in older adults which can often arise as a result of a loss of appetite and/or issues related to food composition and texture.
The Minister added that
‘‘these awards will further strengthen existing scientific linkages and develop capacity and capability, keeping us to the fore in delivering innovation in the Agri-food sector.”
The Joint Programming Initiative “A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life was established to coordinate research in the areas of food, diet, physical activity and health in order to achieve tangible societal and health impact and to strengthen European leadership and competitiveness in this field. www.healthydietforhealthylife.eu/
Under the JPI HDHL, a joint transnational call entitled ‘‘PREVNUT’’ was launched in 2020 which sought to support transnational and trans-disciplinary research projects relating to the development of targeted nutrition for prevention of under-nutrition for older adults, including the development of innovative food products.
Arising from the ‘‘PREVNUT’’ Research Call, a total of 6 transnational projects were selected for funding involving a total commitment of €5.96 million. The six projects involve 31 research groups across France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom, as well as 9 collaborating partners (e.g. SMEs) that will participate in the funded projects using their own resources.
Two projects have DAFM-funded Irish participants as follows:
1. EAT4AGE – Palatable, nutritious and digestible foods for the prevention of under-nutrition in active aging; Teagasc (Awarded – €249,874 by DAFM); Other collaborating partner countries include Norway, United Kingdom; France and Israel. The project intends to investigate the formulation of innovative and energy dense foods that increase appetite and improve bioavailability of proteins in age tailored food products.
2. AMBROSIA – Microbiota-Inflammation-Brain axis in heart failure: new food biomarkers and AI Approaches for the prevention of under-nutrition in Older Adults; University College Dublin (Awarded – €223,415 by DAFM); Other collaborating partner countries include Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Germany. The project intends to develop a new food product based on research regarding metabolism, macro and/or micro nutrients bioavailability and absorption in older adults, with a particular focus on atrial fibrillation and heart failure patients.