The importance of nutrition to a wide range of human health issues ranging from eyesight, cancer treatment and brain function to mental health, substance misuse and sports performance is to be examined in a new research centre at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT).
The School of Health Sciences at WIT announced the establishment of Nutrition Research Centre Ireland which has 26 members and a projected research budget of €15 million over four years.
Bringing together established and respected researchers from several academic disciplines, the new centre of excellence will conduct ground-breaking research with a national and international impact.
The centre’s founding researchers have an excellent track record that includes over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers reporting the findings of previous research and the establishment of an international conference dedicated to the role of nutrition in human wellbeing. Collectively, they have secured €15m of competitive research funding to date.
Prof John Nolan
The application for the centre to be designated was led at WIT by Prof John Nolan, an internationally-recognised leader in the area of nutrition and macular health; Prof John Wells, Head of the School of Health Sciences and Dr Marie Claire Van Hout, an international expert in the field of substance use and human enhancement.
Speaking about the new centre, Prof Nolan said: “The role of nutrition for human health and wellbeing has never been more important given our ageing population, where the prevalence of diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Alzheimer’s disease continue to grow. My view, now supported by research studies, is that lifestyle and nutrition are the key if we are to combat these diseases and enjoy healthy and happy ageing.
“The creation of Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI) is the culmination of years of work by all involved and an acknowledgment of the combined achievements of our members as well as our potential to do even more by working closely together across disciplines. This is a very timely and important development for our research community.
It creates a unique platform for us to compete for major international funds to support the continued growth of nutrition-related research at WIT.”
Prof Stephen Beatty, director of the centre, added: “It is a privilege to have contributed to, and to continue to contribute to, nutrition-related research at WIT. The importance of setting up NRCI cannot be overstated and gives the researchers an administrative and academic infrastructure that matches their collective energy, ambition and drive. The research done at this centre will make a positive and lasting contribution to society in Ireland and beyond.”