The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has announced grant awards of €473,289 for research into healthy diets.

The grants come under a call for a joint programming initiative titled ‘A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Lifestyle’.

The announcement of the grants was made today (Monday, March 8) by Minister of State at the department with responsibility for research and development, Martin Heydon.

The awards are targeted at researchers in Teagasc and University College Dublin (UCD) for a collaboration on international research projects relating to nutrition in older citizens.

The department said that the projects to be funded are “well-aligned” with national strategic ambitions for the agri-food sector to “contribute positively to citizens’ health and wellbeing, insofar as they focus on research relating to taste, nutrition and health-inducing properties”.

“I am delighted to announce two new research awards for Irish-based researchers which allow them to partner and collaborate with their European counterparts in addressing an important challenge relating to the protection of health and wellbeing in older citizens,” Minister Heydon commented.

The projects selected for funding have a particular focus on the development of innovative food products that are aimed at the prevention of diet-related disease and will help overcome issues relating to poor nutrition in older citizens.

The research call was issued last year with the aim of finding transnational and trans-disciplinary research proposals relating to the development of “targeted nutrition” for the prevention of under-nutrition in older adults “which can often arise as a result of a loss of appetite or issues related to food composition and texture”.

“These awards will further strengthen existing scientific linkages and develop capacity and capability, keeping us to the fore in delivering innovation in the agri-food sector,” Minister Heydon argued.

The two projects are as follows:

  • EAT4AGE – Palatable, nutritious and digestible foods for the prevention of under-nutrition in active aging (Teagasc awarded €249,874);
  • AMBROSIA – Microbiota-Inflamation-Brain axis in heart failure: new food biomarkers and AI Approaches for the prevention of under-nutrition in Older Adults (UCD awarded €223,415).