A £750,000 fund for research into gluten-free food production has been opened to food manufacturers in the UK, launched by the charity Coeliac UK.
Grants ranging from £50,000 to £250,000 are up for grabs, aimed at researchers and businesses investing in projects to help people suffering from coeliac disease.
The fund has received an injection of £500,000 from non-departmental public body Innovate UK, which, in addition to £250,000 from the charity, will support this new research competition.
Manufacturers who wish to take a share of the funds need to show they are creating nutritious and affordable gluten-free food, using novel ingredients, foods with improved nutrient profiles and new methods of preservation.
Innovation in processing
They should also demonstrate innovation in processing and manufacturing efficiency for lower-cost options and technologies to improve shelf life.
Calum Murray, head of agriculture and food at Innovate UK, said: “By funding great new ideas, which will help diagnose and care for people with coeliac disease, and by encouraging tasty new developments in gluten-free food, this competition promises to make a real difference.
“Not just for those living with coeliac disease but it will help fuel innovation in our food and health sectors – crucial components of the government’s industrial strategy.”
Researchers and businesses can also apply for funding for projects involving coeliac disease diagnostics and digitally supported self-care. See the box below for more details.
‘Develop competitive advantages’
Coeliac UK chief executive Sarah Sleet added: “With the global diagnosis for coeliac disease increasing year on year, this is a chance for UK business and researchers to get ahead and develop competitive advantages in innovation which will be of benefit to a badly underserved patient group.
“We are thrilled to be working with Innovate UK to promote innovation that will have a real and positive impact on people’s lives.”
Global ingredients supplier Newly Weds Foods has opened a new facility in the UK that focuses on gluten-free.
Categories to receive funding
Enhanced quality of gluten free foods
Creating more nutritious and affordable gluten-free food could include: novel ingredients, foods with improved nutrient profiles and desired flavour texture characteristics, new methods of preservation, innovation in processing and manufacturing efficiency for lower-cost options and technologies to improve shelf life.
Coeliac disease diagnostics
New methods of diagnosis which are less invasive, or that are accurate without eating gluten could improve diagnosis rates and lead to early effective treatment. This, in turn, could lead to better quality of life and reduced risk of complications for patients with the condition.
Digitally supported self-care
Coeliac disease is a serious autoimmune condition, which requires lifelong management. Self-care using digital tools could provide a highly cost-effective option for health management.
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