Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB) is helping to boost innovation across Europe, as two projects it is involved with are to receive funding from The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food. The projects are part of a €56.4m investment by EIT Food into innovative projects contributing to its mission of transforming the agrifood system.
EIT Food is a pan-European partnership, with a consumer-centred approach, to empower innovators, entrepreneurs and students to develop world-class solutions to societal challenges, accelerate innovation, create jobs and increase Europe’s competitiveness.
The enhanced investment in 2019 will go towards accelerating the activities of EIT Food’s partner network, which consists of over 50 organisations from the food industry and universities, and over 50 ‘RisingFoodStars’ agrifood startups. The funds required for these investments have been secured from the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation framework programme, and partner contributions.
Quadram Institute Bioscience will contribute its expertise to the EIT Food QUISPER Project, which is developing and testing a digital platform for creating and delivering personalised nutrition services in Europe. A number of digital apps exist currently in response to consumer demand for apps and services, but many of these are based solely on calorie counting and fail to unleash the real benefits from personalised nutrition advice utilising biomarker and genetic information. In addition, they are not necessarily based on sound science, reducing consumer confidence and take-up.
QUISPER has been set up to address this problem by allowing businesses to connect to independent and scientifically validated services designed for use by companies, healthcare services, researchers, and professionals wanting to provide consumers with improved personalised nutrition advice.
QIB will lead the activity and support other academic partners, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) & the University of Reading, in creating an independent scientific advisory board, supply data and knowledge rules, and set up the scientific advisory principles that will govern the platform.
QIB are also involved in the SEAFEED project that is developing fermented seaweed-based novel feed additives. SEAFEED is led by Matís ltd, an Icelandic Food and Biotech R&D institute and aims to produce health-promoting bioactive ingredients for feeds from seaweed biomass, via microbial fermentation.
Various combinations of seaweed processing and fermenting bacteria have been explored already. The support of EIT FOOD will allow the upscaling of the fermentation process and an assessment of the benefits of the seaweed/bacteria formulation when used as a supplement to fish food.
QIB’s expertise and facilities for assessing prebiotic functionality will underpin this. QIB will also undertake detailed metagenomic and metabolomic analysis of the fish gut microbiome to help select the most beneficial microbial components.
Professor Ian Charles, Director of Quadram Institute Bioscience, welcomed the announcement of the funding to EIT Food, saying “This is a great opportunity for the scientists at the institute to participate with other partners in delivering projects aimed at improving health of UK and European consumers.”