Pre-announcement: Food & nutrition research

Published: 29 June 2018 by KTN
  • research

Pre-announcement: Food & nutrition research for health in the developing world: bioavailability & nutrient content

Call status: Closed
Call opens: 2 July 2018 TBC
Application deadline: 11 September 2018, 16:00


We will shortly announce a call for interdisciplinary, collaborative research proposals to address developing world challenges in nutrition and nutrition-related health (ref 1). This is part of the Global Challenges Research Fund which requires projects to meet Official Development Assistance criteria alongside their scientific objectives.

Proposals must be led by UK researchers normally eligible for BBSRC funding, and partnerships with eligible Co-Investigators based in developing countries are strongly recommended. A full list of DAC listed countries is in the downloads section.

The purpose of this initiative is to inform the development of new strategies to address the challenges in food, nutrition and health by supporting research that brings together the complementary capabilities of scientists in the UK and partners in developing countries. It aims to:

deliver health benefits by investing in interdisciplinary research across the agriculture - food - nutrition - health pathway to deliver more sustainable, nutritious foods to improve physical and cognitive health across the lifecourse in developing countries

improve the nutritional composition and bioavailability of key nutrients in a diverse range of foods to meet nutritional requirements and address malnutrition/key nutrient deficiencies in the developing world.

Agriculture and food are intrinsically linked to nutrition and health and thus, the focus of this call is to encourage a more joined up approach across research disciplines to better understand the key nutrition-related health challenges in developing countries; to support the development of appropriate nutritious and safe food sources to address them; to determine their impact on human health outcomes and provide robust evidence to inform future studies, interventions and policy.

In particular, the initiative aims to encourage integrative research approaches across the agriculture - food - nutrition - health pathway to increase our understanding and/or improve the nutritional quality of the food produced; the nutritional needs of humans; and the biological mechanisms and consequences of nutrition on physical and cognitive health in the developing world.

Proposals must focus on issues primarily relevant to developing countries and should aim to address one or more of the following questions:

What constitutes a healthy diet and how does it vary at different stages across the lifecourse, across different groups, within populations and in different regions of the world?

What culturally appropriate food should be produced and consumed to improve health in developing countries?

How do we diversify the food produced to provide nutritious food that people want to eat, and what impact does this have on health outcomes?

How can we modify/manage food/food systems so that they provide sustainable, nutritious food to improve human health?

How do changing farming practices affect nutrient availability in crops and farmed animals and their implications for human nutrition and health?

What factors influence the nutrient content and bioavailability of macro- and micro-nutrients in food, and their uptake/absorption to impact on human health?

How can we improve methods, standards or technologies to measure dietary intake, energy expenditure, nutritional status and health outcomes, particularly for use in developing countries setting?

How can we demonstrate a clear link between biofortification/fortification and positive health outcomes?

The scope of this call includes research on a diverse range of foods such as crops, fruit and vegetables and animal-sourced foods (for example eggs, milk, fish, insects) for human consumption and health benefits. However it also includes, for example, crops grown for farmed animal feeds to improve the nutritional content of animal-sourced foods.

Proposals will be invited for projects of two years’ duration. The application deadline will be 11 September 2018 and successful proposals must start on 1 April 2019.

How to apply

BBSRC intends to open the call for proposals on the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system on 2 July 2018; in the meantime if you have any queries about this initiative please contact

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