Public Health: Academies give recommendations on the further development of health research
The Health Research Framework Programme of the Federal Government:
Action Plan: Prevention and Nutrition Research
The fact that people live longer and their living and dietary patterns have changed considerably within the last decades also means that there is a marked increase in the number of people suffering from chronic diseases. This situation confronts not only each individual, but also the German health system and society as a whole, with new challenges.
To address these challenges, research funding of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) intends to strengthen prevention and health promotion in all areas of society by focusing on the development of new approaches through interdisciplinary research and innovation activities. It was against this background that in the end of 2010 the Federal Government introduced "Research into Prevention and Nutrition" as one of the six fields of action in its Health Research Programme - Health for Everyone - - BMBF. The Action Plan "Prevention and Nutrition Research", published in June 2013, describes the strategic aims of research funding in this field. It combines relevant research approaches in an interdisciplinary manner – ranging from biomedicine to epidemiology, prevention research and nutrition research.
The key objectives of the action plan include:
• Obtaining dependable knowledge on influencing factors and their effects as well as their relevance for the occurrence of diseases as starting point for successful prevention measures
• Developing effective prevention measures and dietary recommendations
• Establishing an efficient, interdisciplinary and internationally competitive nutrition research sector
• Devising new recipes for processed foods based on the latest scientific findings
• Gaining more knowledge about the long-term effects and health-economic impact of prevention measures
To achieve these aims, the action plan initiates several novel funding measures and strategically links them up with existing funding activities. In total, the action plan provides project funding for research and development projects of up to €125 million in the period 2013-2016.
The funding measures of the action plan with relevance for the scope of JPI HDHL include:
Clusters are expected to start in spring 2015. A total funding budget of up to 21 Mio € for three years will be provided for this funding initiative.
Consortia are expected to start beginning 2015. A total funding budget of up to 19 Mio € for three years will be provided for this funding initiative.
Research projects start beginning 2015. A total funding budget of up to 4 Mio € for three years are being provided for this funding initiative.
Funding measures in the area of obesity research:
National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030 of the Federal Government
With the National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030, the German Federal Government has established the conditions for realizing such a vision. BMBF funding initiatives in the field of bioeconomy reflect the five priority areas of the national research strategy, of which three priorities are closely involved in the field of food production and security.
To support research on sustainable food production that is highly efficient and has a low environmental impact, the BMBF is engaged in the ERA-Net SUSFOOD (SUStainable FOOD production and consumption). This European initiative focus on food chain sustainability beyond the agricultural production and cover processing, packaging, transport, retailing, food services, storage and consumer activities. In January 2014 the 2nd joint call was announced.
In terms of meat, a prerequisite for healthy foodstuffs is healthy animals. Various factors such as diseases, epidemics, methods of treatment, animal husbandry, etc. can seriously affect the health and welfare of farm animals. This can have a considerable influence on the economy, environment and society including meat quality and consumer protection, and does not simply have only effects on the animal and its keeper. The BMBF thus participates in European initiatives which aim to fund transnational cooperations in the research area "Animal Health and Welfare", in particular the ERA-Net EMIDA (Emerging and Major Infectious Diseases of Livestock) and the new campaign ANIHWA (Animal Health and Welfare).
The BMBF's Institutional funding
The mission of the institute is to conduct experimental and clinical research in the field of nutrition and health, with the aim of understanding the molecular basis of nutrition-dependent diseases, and of developing new strategies for prevention, treatment, and nutritional recommendations. To do so, interdisciplinary cooperation comprising a broad spectrum of experimental and epidemiological methods is pursued. A particular focus of the institute is research on common diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer, whose development involves nutrition-dependent factors.
· four Federal Research Centres: Julius Kühn Institute (JKI), Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI), Max Rubner Institute (MRI) and the Thünen Institute (TI),
· the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment,
· the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety and the
· German Biomass Research Centre.
The four Federal Research Centres draw up scientific decision aids for the BMEL in the fields of food, agricultural, forestry, fisheries and consumer policy. They broaden the state of the art in their fields for the common good. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) also conducts research into health-related consumer protection.
Four of MRI's eight departments as well as the MRI Analysis Division use a cross-product approach, focusing their research on investigating the quality rating of foodstuffs in terms of nutritional physiology and health, food safety and bioprocess engineering. This approach traces the active chain of nutrition from the level of molecules and cells to the entire organism. One particularly important area is the study of nutritional behavior. The results of this cross-product research are incorporated in recommendations for healthy nutrition.
The research work undertaken in the other four departments relates to specific categories of foodstuffs such as cereals, vegetables, milk and meat. In these departments the entire food chain is studied. MRI's research, which is geared to the production chain, targets the safety and quality of foodstuffs as well as the sustainability of food production. Investigations cover the whole period from the moment of harvesting or production through to the consumer.
The Max Rubner-Institute is responsible for the continued development and implementation of National Nutrition Monitoring and the Federal Food Key. It also undertakes national tasks in the context of the Agricultural Statistics Act and the Precautionary Radiation Protection Act.
There are eight departments at MRI:
• Department of Nutritional Behaviour
• Department of Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition
• Department of Food Technology and Bio Process Engineering
• Department of Safety and Quality of Fruit and Vegetables
• Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology
• Department of Safety and Quality of Milk and Fish Products
• Department of Safety and Quality of Cereals
• Department of Safety and Quality of Meat
The ministry is also supported by six Leibniz institutes, which conduct applied research and complement the technical spectrum of the above research institutions. These institutions from the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific ¬Association (WGL) are supported by the BMEL; their scientific findings are used for the ministry's consultation requirements. The most important WGL-Institute within the scope of JPI HDHL is the .
Working Group II. Biopolymers is working on the characterisation and quantification of plant biopolymers, in particular those of cereals.
Working Group III. Physiology – Chemoreception of food ingredients aims to clarify the interaction of food ingredients with cellular target molecules (i.e. receptors, ion channels).
The ministry needs a scientific foundation for its work. The research findings are always made available to the public. This means that consumers, practitioners in the agricultural, forestry and fisheries sectors, the business community, and people living in rural areas all benefit from BMEL research.
If the departmental research bodies do not have the capacity, or do not have sufficient capacity, to work on topics relevant to policy consultation, the BMEL can also finance research assignments carried out by third parties.