Misguided food choices can lead to a myriad of health complications, the most widely known being obesity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. To better understand the effect of food choices on health, larger amounts of more varied data are required. These data include geno- and phenotyping data from human nutritional studies, but also personal health, behavioural and socio-economic data. Using this data would enable researchers to develop products and interventions to reduce the risk of disease, and also the environmental impact of our food system.
However, food and nutrition research in Europe is still fragmented. Improved ontologies, databases, data harmonisation and ways to share the data are still needed. Collaboration across disciplines has also become imperative, requiring a mixed network of experts, such as dieticians, nutritionists, bioinformaticians, systems biologists and consumer scientists.
Goals of the Community
The ELIXIR Food and Nutrition Community aims to:
- Standardise food and nutrition data to ensure interoperability: Create standardised questionnaires, develop ontologies to make data interoperable, develop tools to help standardise data and metadata, and offer training in FAIR data principles, data stewardship and data annotation.
- Make more data available: Make data findable and accessible, including aspects such as: formatting standards, allowing for connectivity between structured datasets, encouraging rich meta-data capture, ensuring ethical data collection and access, and allowing queries and tools to find datasets.
- Make data easier to reuse: Integrate food and nutrition data (with a specific focus on metabolomics and microbiomics), align analysis software with existing ELIXIR solutions (e.g. microbiomics/GALAXY and similar dataflows), interact with consumers and offer training on data reuse.
- Engage with advocacy and support training: Raise awareness and encourage researchers and governmental organisations to publish (raw or processed) data, facilitate training around the FAIR principles to raise awareness within and beyond the ELIXIR Food and NutritionCommunity.
- Drive tool and service availability and interoperability: facilitate access to available tools and services to analyse, visualize and manipulate F&N related data, integrate public and private repositories to allow easy data transfer for analysis and processing, including the possibility for chained data analysis.
- Network with relevant stakeholders: interact with consumers, policy makers, educators, industry, hospitals, patients and other researchers, align with the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) strategy for sustainable long term data reuse.
See the outcomes slidedeck for an overview of the expected outcomes of this Community.
Find out more
- Contact katharina.heil [at] elixir-europe.org if you would like to know more about the Community's work.