Expert consultation to accelerate advances in nutrition science
News / Published: 23 August 2018
Wellcome and the World Health Organization (WHO) are holding an expert meeting this autumn to bring together leading scientists and promising early-career researchers to invigorate nutrition science.
'Transforming Nutrition Science for Better Health' will be held at Wellcome’s London office from 15-17 October. It aims to:
- generate innovative research ideas with the potential to yield new health interventions to improve the health and wellbeing of children and adults
- stimulate interdisciplinary exploration and foster collaborative approaches
- inspire younger researchers to pursue careers in nutrition science
- draw public attention to the importance of nutrition and how research improves health.
Wellcome and the WHO are gathering around 60 invited experts, world-leading scientists from a range of disciplines who are at the cutting edge of thinking about both under- and over-nutrition, and who focus on different life stages.
Sparking new conversations
This meeting is different. We want to excite people about the transformative potential of nutrition science to improve health of people around the world.
Attendees need to arrive ready to work, not just to listen, and be prepared to share their own ideas on the future of nutrition science and work together to find solutions.
The meeting’s aim is to create a collaborative, dynamic environment that can:
- stimulate challenging, multifaceted discussions
- bring new technologies to old problems
- foster multidisciplinary collaboration to break down scientific silos.
At the end of the meeting, we aim to have identified new research ideas.
Experts from different fields will give their perspectives to encourage everyone attending to look at things differently and consider new approaches. Participants include Andrew Prentice, who has created a career around thinking differently about nutrition problems, and Scott Smith, whose nutrition research is truly out of this world.
Other experts taking part include:
- Robert Bandsma
- Jay Berkley
- John Draper
- Sadaf Farooqi
- Jeff Gordon
- Alan Jackson
- Jonathan Wells
- Eran Elinav
- Lindsday Hall.
The 2-5-day meeting will focus on two areas: resilience and recovery of lean tissue, specifically muscle; and the influence of the microbiome.
It will culminate in a ‘convince us’ session where groups of researchers will pitch new research ideas, developed during the meeting, to funders.
Early career researcher competition
We ran a competition earlier this year looking for passionate early career researchers to attend the meeting. We received almost 70 applications from 16 countries. Six candidates impressed us with their ability to see the big picture as well as their enthusiasm and drive.
The winners are:
Poor nutrition has major health and economic impact
Wherever we live, at whatever age, good nutrition is the foundation of health.
Patterns of malnutrition are changing. While the number of children who are underweight and stunted is decreasing in some countries, the number of children and adults who are overweight and obese is increasing in virtually every region. This will have major health and economic consequences for generations to come.
Many countries are facing a double burden of under- and overnutrition, with huge implications for policy and resources. Malnutrition affects the ability to learn and earn, and has lifelong ramifications. Throughout life, poor nutrition increases susceptibility to disease and reduces our ability to recover from illness and respond to treatment.
And as people live longer, maintaining good nutrition in later life is a challenge for health providers and individuals alike.
Transforming nutrition science for better health
This meeting is the start of a conversation that we hope will have ripple effects for years to come. We hope that by coming together as a broad research community we can catalyse a transformation in nutrition science to benefit people’s health worldwide.
- United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition
- Global Nutrition Report
- Review of Nutrition and Human Health
- Double burden of malnutrition