Background: Recent initiatives in Europe have encouraged the formalisation of research infrastructure to unify fragmented facilities, resources and services; and to facilitate world-class research of complex public health challenges, such as those related to non-communicable disease. How this can be achieved in the area of food and health has, to date, been unclear. Scope and approach: This commentary paper presents examples of the types of food and health research facilities, resources and services available in Europe. Insights are provided on the challenge of identifying and classifying research infrastructure. In addition, suggestions are made for the future direction of food and health research infrastructure in Europe. These views are informed by the EuroDISH project, which mapped research infrastructure in four areas of food and health research: Determinants of dietary behaviour; Intake of foods/nutrients; Status and functional markers of nutritional health; Health and disease risk of foods/nutrients. Key findings and conclusion: There is no objective measure to identify or classify research infrastructure. It is therefore, difficult to operationalise this term. EuroDISH demonstrated specific challenges with identifying the degree an organisation, project, network or national infrastructure could be considered a research infrastructure; and establishing the boundary of a research infrastructure (integral hard or soft facilities/resources/services). Nevertheless, there are opportunities to create dedicated food and health research infrastructures in Europe. These would need to be flexible and adaptable to keep pace with an ever-changing research environment and bring together the multi-disciplinary needs of the food and health research community.
- Determinants of dietary intake
- Food and health
- Research infrastructure