The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Research and Development, Martin Heydon, T.D. has announced the participation of his Department in a new European-led research Call on ‘A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life. The call will be rolled out under the EU Joint Programming Initiative.
The call will coordinate international research on the impact of diet and lifestyles on health, with the aim of preventing dietary-related chronic diseases.
This specific research Call deals with the connections between infectious and dietary-related diseases, and the potential for food-based solutions. Over €8 million is being made available to facilitate successful research proposals. The Department, together with other Irish and European organizations, have come together to provide this funding for this important topic area.
In making the announcement, Minister Heydon said that ‘‘This new research call is particularly important and timely given the impact that COVID-19 and other illnesses can have on those with vulnerable immune systems. We have long understood that food can impact our ability to fight disease. This research will look at this and open the possibility for the development of new, innovative, value-added foods’’.
The Minister went on to say, ‘‘The Food Vision Strategy identified the clear value of linking our food systems with positive health. This international research facilitated by the Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life initiative aligns well with this vision.
It is critical as we move forward that we create value-added in the food sector through insight and innovation. Participation in such initiatives should also help to deliver on the Healthy Ireland Strategic Action Plan 2021-2005, particularly those around empowering people to keep well’’.
Concluding, the Minister remarked,“Given the relevance and significance of this research Call topic, I am delighted to be in a position to contribute €500,000 in funding which will facilitate the participation of researchers in eligible Irish institutions, and I would encourage those researchers to apply to this Call”.
The Joint Programming Initiative a Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI HDHL) brings together 20 countries that align research programming and fund new research to prevent or minimize diet-related chronic diseases.