Joint Action “Nutrition & the Epigenome”

The second non-cofunded action in ERA-HDHL

JPI HDHL launched in February 2018 a call to create dedicated, top-class transnational research consortia in the emerging field of nutrition and epigenetics. Previous research has studied epigenetic changes in early life. However, the effects of diet on epigenetic regulation, gene expression in different tissues, and subsequent metabolic health and disease are still unclear. Experts need to better understand the mechanistic pathways that link dietary interventions to those epigenetic changes that have functional/physiological consequences to the tissue and ultimately the organism.

Aim of the call

The aim of this call is to support transnational, collaborative research projects that gain a better understanding of the diet-epigenome relationships and their effect on human health. This will allow the development and substantiation of intervention strategies for treating nutrition-related diseases and sustaining good health throughout the life course.

Call topics

Proposals had to focus on diet and epigenome, and cover one of the following areas:

  • Establishing cause-and-effect relationships between diet, the epigenome and metabolic health
  • Identifying risk factors and early stage epigenetic change
  • Epigenetic effects across the lifespan and inter (and potentially trans) generational epigenetic effects
  • Investigation of modifiable factors that could be involved in epigenetic regulation
  • The effect of diet and nutritional status on the intra-uterine environment

Funding and projects selection

In total, 13 funding organisations from 11 countries participated in this call with a total budget of more than 8 M EUR. The call was addressed to applicants working in universities (or other higher education institutions), non-university public research institutes, hospitals and other health care settings. Participation of private parties was encouraged as well as commercial companies, in particular small and medium-size enterprises. However, the eligibility of these organisations and institutions was subjected to the national/regional regulations of the individual funding organisations.

A total of 37 eligible full proposals were submitted to the JPI HDHL in April 2018. The Call Steering Committee selected 6 proposals, based on the ranking list provided by the scientific expert evaluation committee. The selected proposals requested a total of 6,8 M EUR of funding from the participating countries.

Six researchers consortia based in the United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, France and Canada will work together in the upcoming three years towards a more complete understanding of the diet-epigenome relationships and their effect on human health.

More information about the research projects will follow soon.

Joint Call Secretariat at ZonMw

Dr. Wilke van Ansem