Pieter vant Veer (WUR – NL)

Pieter van ’t Veer (1957) studied Human Nutrition (Wageningen, 1982) and Epidemiology (Harvard School Public Health, 1982). He obtained his PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology (Maastricht, 1990) and was employed by The Netherlands Cancer Foundation (1982), TNO Nutrition Institute (1984) and Wageningen University (1993). He chaired the Nutrition and Epidemiology group, Division of Human Nutrition and Health (2002 onwards). His scientific career initially focused on diet and carcinogenesis and gradually shifted to NCDs, biomarkers, exposure assessment, dietary habits and prevention and finally environmental sustainability and food systems. He supervised projects on diet and breast cancer, GI-tract cancers and cardiovascular disease (EURAMIC study), standardization of dietary assessment for pan-EU surveillance (EFCOVAL), harmonizing dietary requirements (EURRECA) and public health (community health centres). More recently, his work extended to the environmental aspects of the diet in, e.g., the SUSFANS project and the SHARP model. Building on the H2020-projects EuroDISH and RICHFIELDS, he is actively involved in the development of a pan-European research infrastructure, which aims to facilitate interdisciplinary, multi stakeholder research for the pan-European food, nutrition and health research community. In 2015, Wageningen University endowed him with a special chair in Nutrition, Public Health and Sustainability.

Overcoming fragmentation in the food, nutrition and health research landscape

Overcoming fragmentation in the research landscape: Towards the European Food, Nutrition and Health Research Infrastructure

Pieter van ’t Veer (1), Paul Finglas (2), Sabato DÁuria (3), Bent Egberg  Mikkelsen (4), Adriana Kolesarova (5), Krijn Poppe (6) and Karin Zimmermann (6)

1) Wageningen University (NL), 2) Institute of Food Research (UK),  3) National Research Council (IT), 4) Aalborg University (DK), 5) Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra (SK) and 6) Wageningen Research (NL), all members of the Board of the FNH-RI Foundation

European citizens and the food system face major challenges to choose and produce foods for diets that reduce the burden of disease and produce foods within the planetary capacity. To overcome these challenges, the EU-funded project EuroDISH identified the need for trans disciplinary research, leading to scientific breakthroughs that impact science, innovation and society. The subsequent RICHFIELDS project designed a unique research infrastructures (RI) that focuses on dietary habits of EU-citizens. Based on recommendations of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI, 2016) these projects formed the basis for the roadmap towards a pan-European Food, Nutrition and Health Research Infrastructure (FNH-RI).

Core scientific challenge of FNH-RI is the food choice of citizens as governed by bio-psycho-social interactions during the course of life and embedded in the citizens’ food environment, eventually leading to healthy and sustainable diets. FNH-RIis designed as an overarching, virtual, integrated, open access research infrastructure to collate, validate, harmonize and connect existing and future research data, tools and labs for the benefit of researchers, policy makers, industry, and societal organizations in the food-nutrition-health domain.FNH-RI brings together top-level science and innovative research, and provides dedicated data services to policy makers, civil society and businesses. This will enhance quality, cost effectiveness, and resources for research and innovation, and deliver environmental and socially important breakthroughs relevant to NCDs, obesity, and the protein transition.

Six EU Member States are involved in the FNH-RI consortium (NL, DK, SK, UK, and IT); food industry (Unilever, Danone, Friesland Campina, Arla) and facilitating industry (Philips, ICT SMEs) are involved as a business platform connected to FNH-RI. The Netherland is the lead country of FNH-RI, national nodes are established in Sweden, Spain, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Finland, Norway, Slovenia and Iceland. Associated institutes and universities are hosted in France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Greece and Switzerland.


Key words: Food System, Nutrition, Lifestyle, Health, ICT, Research Infrastructure