The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) aims to support world-class research to advance understanding of how nutritious, healthy and safe foods can be sustainably generated, and how nutrients, foods and whole diets interact with biological systems to promote health.
Under this priority, we will support research to generate a mechanistic understanding of how nutrients influence human cellular processes, how these influences affect overall health outcomes, and how these responses vary between population groups and across the life-course. We will also support mechanistic work on the growth, survival and control of foodborne pathogens.
Researchers are encouraged to take advantage of data-driven biology and systems-based approaches and the computational innovations which are rendering complex problems more tractable.
Research under this priority should seek to increase mechanistic biological understanding of:
- how food and nutrition can optimise health and reduce disease risk
- how diet interacts with external and internal factors to modulate phenotypic responses that influence health
- the contribution of dietary patterns, individual nutrients, whole and processed foods and food structures to promoting and maintaining health
- individual behavioural responses and attitudes toward food, nutrition and health
- how to reduce risks to human health from the contamination of food by pathogens, toxins or other harmful substances at any stage of the food chain
- how to positively manipulate the food system, from primary production to processing, to enhance the bioavailability of micronutrients and other components beneficial to health.
What we don’t fund
Although it is recognised that diet and nutrition are risk factors for the development of disease, research directed at human pathology and disease, including harmful interactions between food pathogens and their human hosts, is outside of our remit.
Outputs and impacts
Under this priority, we will support research which underpins a stronger and more coherent evidence base on which to base nutritional and food safety policies, and develop new or reformulated foods which will enhance health. By doing so, knowledge will be gained which is crucial to addressing the growing social and economic challenges posed by modern lifestyles and dietary habits, and driving innovation in a sector of crucial importance to the UK economy.
Translational opportunities through impact on policy (including government agencies) and potential for research to be taken up by the food industry or more clinically-focused analysis should be explored. Impacts on training and the UK skills base should also be considered. The priority promotes basic research, but we recognise and support the importance of end-user engagement for translation to practical applications.