Become a Member
Important contributions of Members States to the societal challenge of HDHL and advantages for Member States to participate in HDHL are described below.
Contribute to border crossing societal challenges
HDHL focusses on the knowledge needed to tackle the societal challenge of unhealthy lifestyles. Over 2 billion people in this world are overweight and the associated costs are 1.2 trillion dollar per year. At the same time, the population in many countries is ageing, which increases the incidence of malnutrition. To tackle these challenges, research and innovation are crucial. HDHL works on a programmed approach to align national Research and Innovation strategies and to fund new research in order to facilitate true understanding of the relationship between diet, physical activity and health. This approach contributes to better prioritised research and avoids fragmentation of knowledge. In addition, the available resources can be used more efficient to improve the process of gaining knowledge and reaching new insights and innovation.
Minimise underinvestment nutrition and health
The research area that focuses on the links between nutrition and health, as well as nutrition-related public health interventions, often falls into the gap between the agricultural and health domains. This leads to underinvestment, according to a recent mapping of the Research and Innovation investment of 11 countries by the Strategic Working Group on Food Systems of the Standing Committee of Agricultural Research (SCAR FS SWG). An analysis of existing policies and strategies, of more than 20 countries, mentioned in the same report, showed an underrepresentation of food innovation, nutrition and health in comparison to agriculture, food production and food safety. The same underinvestment is highlighted by the independent Food2030 expert group in relation to funding for the European Horizon 2020 research program. These, very recent, findings underline the importance of strengthening national research investments through a programmed approach.
Multiplier of invested money
Participating in HDHL joint funding activities means that the gained knowledge from research is multiplied several times compared to the invested budget. The budget from your country will be dedicated to researchers within your country; however they will be part of an international research consortium of at least two (but often more) other countries allowing a more substantial research project. Transnational research projects also allows for combining already ongoing national research investments and data-sets.
Scientific added value
Because of HDHL, researchers are provided with a global research laboratory. For example: in nutritional research, differences in environment, policy and food culture play an important role in explaining nutritional behavior. The experimental laboratory is a valuable setting to investigate the environmental impact on nutritional behavior and to test and evaluate nutritional interventions and policies. This cannot be achieved by countries alone.
Unique opportunity for researchers
Through the participation in HDHL, researchers are given the opportunity to establish a consortium of countries and partners that would otherwise never have been formed. International collaborations enable exchange of knowledge and experiences that are valuable for the projects consortia are working and future research.
The goal of Healthy Diet, Healthy Life (HDHL) is to align international research resources and to provide a platform for collaboration. The concept of joint programming is origninally initiated by the European Commission. Therefore most of the HDHL members are EU Member States and States associated to the European Framework Programme. The goal is to:
- Pool national research efforts in order to make better use of Research and Development resources
- Tackle common global challenges more effectively.
Since January 2021, HDHL is a self-sustainable organisation, which means a fee from each (full) member is required to run the initiative. Member Countries are expected to be actively engaged with HDHL activities. Also, representatives are requested to participate in the HDHL Management Board meetings (2-3 times per year) and to agree with the Strategic Research Agenda.
Each representative will be responsible to transport the recommendations of the Management Board to the national decision making body. In addition, they will coordinate with different national partners, ministries, research organisations, universities, and funding agencies. To ensure this, they shall have the capacity to make decisions, and be instrumental in arranging structural and financial support at national level. Each representative may appoint a substitute or proxy to attend and vote at any meeting.
Each national representative may be assisted by experts, who may contribute to discussions without voting right. The governance structure is described in more detail in the Terms of Reference.
If your country is interested in joining forces with HDHL, please contact us.
To become a member an Memorandum of Understanding of HDHL has to be signed by a governmental body accompanied with a letter to the chair of HDHL with names of the representative(s) of the respective government that will take seat in the Management Board of HDHL with a governmental mandate (coming for instance from ministries, research organisations, funding bodies, research councils and others). The Management Board of HDHL ensures the political backing of the initiatives from Member States and Associate States and the visibility of HDHL. Membership in the HDHL initiative is terminated, if the respective State has put its wish in writing to the Chair of the MB, who in turn informs all its members.
HDHL welcomes countries who would like to consider membership of HDHL to join as a partcipating observer country to get more insight in HDHL. Furthermore it is possible to join specific activities like joint funding activities also without the status of being an observer or full member.