Stock image of a BMI scan

The role of food, diet and nutrition in chronic disease prevention and management is particularly important as diet is a modifiable risk factor for most chronic conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders including type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The increase in the prevalence of these chronic conditions is a societal challenge that requires multidimensional approaches, of which nutrition interventions are a critical component.

Research and innovation in food, diet and nutrition have developed interdisciplinary critical mass and strength in the HRI across multiple centres, schools and faculties. Areas of strength span research on the impact of functional foods on health, performance nutrition, sustainable food practices and understanding the link between diet quality, chronic disease and healthy ageing. Principal Investigators in this area are leading on several national and international projects having received funding from organisations such as the Food for Health Ireland National Technology Centre; Enterprise Ireland; the Health Research Board; the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; the Marine Institute; and the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. HRI members have links to and are active members of the cutting-edge science.

It is now the aim of the HRI to prioritise and support the growth of this area by bringing together active and productive researchers with a food, diet and nutrition research focus and to provide clear links to existing centres (local, national and international), industry partnerships and, of course, related Sustainable Development Goals.

Over the next five years, this priority research area will seek to address the critical stages of the lifecycle and the health span by undertaking translational research that incorporates key interdisciplinary researchers and technologies in the development of functional foods and dietary strategies to optimise health using a bench-to-bedside approach. Food, diet and nutrition researchers will pursue a standalone programme of research and contribute to the HRI’s other priority research areas. Specifically, research will focus on areas of nutrition that support healthy ageing, performance, metabolic health in cancer and diabetic populations, dietary strategies and behaviour change.