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Extended research partnerships to restore resilience and defeat malnutrition: UniPv's cascade funding call is open

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Published: January 23, 2024
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In a world where malnutrition continues to impact the health and well-being of vulnerable populations, the University of Pavia, as the leader of Spoke 6 within the PNRR OnFoods partnership, is taking a significant step forward. The university is launching its first cascade funding call, inviting businesses, universities, and research centers to join hands in developing innovative and sustainable solutions to tackle malnutrition head-on.

The OnFoods Spoke 06 call for proposals is open until Febraury 6, 2024. It seeks to fund fundamental research activities, industrial initiatives, and experimental development projects.The financial allocation for this call, provided by the University of Pavia as the Implementing Body of Spoke 6, amounts to €1,550,000. 

OnFoods promotes a scheme based on cascade funding to support research projects initiated by external businesses and public and private research organizations that are not part of the Partnership but are interested in the topics addressed by the HUB and the Spokes, through the provision of appropriate funding.

The details of the call and the participation procedures can be found on the official website of the University of Pavia.
 

Funded research themes: a roadmap to impact

To amplify the impact of research and development activities beyond the participants of Spoke 6, specific research themes have been defined. Let's delve into these themes and explore how they aim to address malnutrition challenges. Let's delve into these themes and explore how they aim to address malnutrition challenges.

 

Theme 1. Development of sustainable high-protein plant-based products

Malnutrition poses a significant threat to physical and social well-being, impacting healthcare systems worldwide. Vulnerable populations, including children, adolescents, and the elderly, are particularly affected. Overnutrition, which increases the risk of conditions such as type II diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, is prevalent among these groups. The elderly, in particular, face the dual risk of overnutrition and undernutrition due to changing health, social, and economic factors.

The solution lies in dietary adjustments. A balanced diet, similar to the Mediterranean diet, rich in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and legumes, has been associated with longevity, better health, and sustainability. However, adherence to such diets is often lacking, with excessive consumption of animal-based protein sources.

Spoke 6's goal is to develop high-protein plant-based products tailored to the nutritional needs of vulnerable populations. These products aim to combat malnutrition, promote sustainable dietary patterns, preserve biodiversity, and improve overall diet quality. The process includes prototyping functional foods, testing their potential benefits on preclinical models, assessing consumer acceptability through market analysis, and ensuring sustainable packaging.

The research projects under this theme will contribute to achieving the deliverables outlined within Spoke 6 (WP6.4) of OnFoods.

 

Theme 2. Development of gut-wellness products

Malnutrition often goes hand in hand with compromised nutritional status and disruptions in intestinal function and microbiota. Dysbiosis, an imbalance in the gut microbiota, can negatively impact health, creating a vicious cycle that affects nutrition and well-being. Restoring proper gut balance is not only vital for preventing obesity but also for averting related cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Additionally, the integrity of the intestinal barrier and the composition of the microbiota play crucial roles in malnutrition development and treatment. Pre-, pro-, and post-biotics have emerged as promising tools to restore intestinal integrity and balance.

Spoke 6 is dedicated to designing and developing innovative products based on these biotics to combat malnutrition by restoring gut well-being in vulnerable populations. These initiatives include creating prototype products, testing them on preclinical models, and analyzing their impact on the intestinal microbiota.

Research projects in this theme will contribute to achieving the deliverables outlined within Spoke 6 (WP6.3) of OnFoods.

This blog post is related to

Spoke 06

Tackling malnutrition

To restore resilience and defeat malnutrition

Lead organisationUniPv

Spoke leaderHellas Cena

WP 6.4

Restoring resilience

Spoke leader

IRFMN

Referred to

Spoke 06

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