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Twinning of research activities for the frontier research in the fields of food, nutrition and environmental ‘omics

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FoodEnTwin (Twinning of research activities for the frontier research in the fields of food, nutrition and environmental ‘omics)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2019-11-30

The objective of FoodEnTwin is to create a networking collaboration among the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Chemistry (UBFC) and its Center of Research Excellence for Molecular Food Sciences (CoE MFS) and four high renowned institutes from Sweden (Karolinska InstitutetI), Austria (Medical University of Vienna) and Belgium (KULeuven and Ghent University) providing a unique opportunity for UBFC and its partners to increase their scientific excellence and visibility, technology innovation capacity and enable frontier research at the crossroad of food, agriculture, chemistry, nutrition and environmental sciences by the infusion of –Omics technologies and experimental animal models.

The project focuses on the key target actions of twinning of research activities through networking, training and a lecturing program resulting in a roadmap for a future collaboration, organization of four public Summers Schools, internal and external expert-driven Academia-Industry meetings, two workshops, and finally, bringing the European Food Chemistry conference (EuroFoodChem) in 2021 to the UBFC in Serbia to increase the UBFC, the Serbian and the European visibility in the fields of food sciences.

The scientific topic addresses the major challenge of how environmental pollution affects the food we eat at the molecular level. The project will have a significant societal impact. Our dissemination approach will present our networking ideas to a broad public, from experts, the science community and industry stakeholder organization, to interested, non-professionals, making society more aware of the impact that environment has on food and the importance of new approaches in food, nutrition and environmental sciences.

The aim of this 3-year project is to use cutting-edge -omics technologies (proteomics, transcriptomics, digestomics, allergomics, metalomics and lipidomics) and experimental animal models to address the challenges in food, nutrition and environmental sciences in a way that enables the creation of a pan-European research network through the twinning research activities in this project..

To achieve the objectives of the FoodEnTwin project, the consortium partners have implemented a comprehensive set of measures within the project’s key work packages (WPs): Short term staff exchanges; (WP1), Training workshops, and summer schools; (WP2), Dissemination and outreach. (WP3)
FoodEnTwin project achievements from September 2018 to November 2019 are:

STSEs:
During the first period of the project, successful staff training was achieved through short term scientific exchanges (STSE) with targeted skills of research staff of all partner institutions. The STSEs produced standard operating procedures (SOPs) for validated experimental methods during every training mission which resulted in a booklet of collected SOPs is available for all partners in the consortium.

Progress meetings:
The Kick off, First Advisory Board (AB) and Steering Committee meetings provided venues for high level presentations, planning and discussion between the coordinator, WP leaders, partners and AB members. The result of the meetings was the creation of the management structures, committee appointments committees (e.g. STSE, conferences, organization of summers schools and workshops), plans for financial and administrative tasks, an action plan and distribution of work for the next period in addition to discussion and analysis of critical issues.

Summer Schools:
The successful Metallomics summer school in June 2019 (date) included 7 leading experts in the field who provided the students with insights into theoretical concepts and experimental approaches in metallomics, and practical training and handson statistical processing of the results. A brochure with practical instructions including complete descriptions of the experiments were provided to the participants.

The Call for the Second Summer School (Proteomics) opened on date…See put the webaddress here) for details on the application procedure, the topics and lecturers.

Workshops:
The First FoodEnTwin Workshop: Food and Environmental –omics on June 30-20, 2019 in Belgrade supported by FoodEnTwin and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SASA) was a great success. The first day of the workshop was held in the SASA building and consisted of 11 invited lectures, 4 oral presentations, 4 STSE presentations and 20 poster presentations. There was a strong public awareness campaign at the workshop with the involvement of members of the press which led to dissemination to a wide audience. The FoodEnTwin Workshop “Abstract Book” was officially categorized and has the ISBN number 978-86-7220-099-7.

The Call for the second workshop (http://horizon2020foodentwin.rs/workshops/) announces the next FoodEnTwin Worskshop: Models of allergic disease which is a 2 day event set for February 3-4, 2020. The website includes the application procedure, the topics and lecturers.

The first Call for the EuroFoodChem XXI (in 2021) announcement is at http://horizon2020foodentwin.rs/sr/eurofoodchemxxi/.

Our networking ideas and results have been presented to the science community, healthcare personnel and to interested, non-professionals, making society more aware of the impact that environment has on food and the importance of new approaches in food, nutrition and environmental sciences.
The FoodEnTwin project gathers –Omics technologies and animal models, as the most sophisticated tools for uncovering environment-induced qualitative and quantitative changes of food components and sources at molecular level. FoodEnTwin is at the forefront in this multidisciplinary field as it exploits –Omics technologies and animal models to explore the influence of environment on the food for human and animal nutrition, making the project progress beyond the state of the art in food and nutrition sciences, and environmental sciences.

Impacts until the end of the project is expected to be:
a) Increased research excellence of the coordinating institution in the field of –Omics technologies in food, nutrition and environmental sciences.
b) Enhanced reputation, attractiveness and networking channels of the coordinating institution.
c) Improved capability of the coordinating institution to compete successfully for national, EU and internationally competitive research funding.

In the current “organic food era”, the public are more informed, and more interested in relationship between environmental pollution and food for human and animal nutrition. However, environmental pollution, not only influences food by natural and anthropogenic contaminants, but it also influences food quality and other aspects of food safety. FoodEnTwin addresses the major challenge of the influence of environmental pollution on food at the molecular level. The expected impact is new insights into food safety, which will be a significant societal impact. During the project, the public will become more aware of importance of new approaches in food, nutrition and environmental sciences, which is key to making the food supply safer for all Europeans. Additionally, FoodEnTwin is expected to increase the public support for the efforts made by scientists and to engage policymakers for the future.
FoodEnTwin management, Metallomics school participants and Advisory Board of the project