From the Desk of the NNEdPro Chair: December 2018

srayOverall whilst the external world as we know it continues to be windswept by change forces that are ever more powerful, for NNEdPro, 2018 has been a seriously action packed but very successful 10th Anniversary Year.

Apart from our summer events attended by over 250 delegates this year, we have presented extensively at scientific meetings across the globe and organised several successful symposia from the USA through India to Australia whilst maintaining a centre of gravity in medical nutrition education/innovation in Cambridge and the UK.

In addition, this year we have clocked a record number of peer reviewed papers as well as other publications in which NNEdPro has played a key role and we feel privileged to have become the co-owners of the newly launched BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health.

We have come a long way from starting as the ‘Need for Nutrition Education Project’ within the realms of the Cambridge Institute of Public Health from 2008-10, then becoming the ‘Need for Nutrition Education/Innovation Programme’ which evolved from 2010-16 in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Human Nutrition Research Unit at the Elsie Widdowson Laboratory (EWL) in Cambridge, and latterly becoming the ‘NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health’ hosted partly in the MRC EWL and additionally at St John’s Innovation Centre (SJIC) in Cambridge over 2016-18.

Today we are an independently governed centre with an increasingly international impact footprint but grounded through our affiliation with four main partner Universities – Cambridge (our founding institution), Ulster, Imperial and Parma – together these Universities bring together complementary attributes from molecules to mankind! Also key are our strategic partnerships, particularly the unfailing support of the British Dietetic Association from our very inception and more recently the Global Open Data Initiative for Agriculture and Nutrition which has enabled us to look across the piece from agricultural aspects of nutrition to diet and human health.

As the MRC EWL closed its doors after 20 years this month, our coordinating centre is poised and ready to carry on a small part of the Elsie Widdowson legacy as we embrace the New Year in our new offices at SJIC Cambridge, whilst maintaining a key presence at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and within the University of Cambridge framework. Additionally, the state-of-the-art NNEdPro Nutrition and Vascular Studies Platform has found a new home at the world class Human Nutrition Department (‘NICHE’) of Ulster University where, in my NNEdPro capacity, I am delighted to be taking up a newly created part-time personal chair as Professor of Global Nutrition (Health and Disease) alongside my existing NNEdPro commitments in Cambridge and further afield.

However, what makes NNEdPro unique is the 200 person strong membership of our think-tank and I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank each and every individual and organisation that continues to contribute to our mission, vision and aims as we head into our strategic plan aligned with the United Nations Decade of Nutrition 2016-25. A special call out to my colleagues in Ops and Logistics who make it all happen as well as our Global Innovation Panel for creativity and Directors for being the bedrock on which it stands!

Finally, I feel fortunate to be representing NNEdPro on special assignment from December 2018 to February 2019 in the Nutrition Directorate of the World Health Orgnization Headquarters in Geneva where there is the opportunity to lead on the development of a strategy within the UN Decade that brings medical and healthcare related nutrition education centre stage following on from which 2019 promises to be another fun filled year of activities and events through which we will continue to advance and implement nutrition knowledge to improve health, wellbeing and society. I hope you will join us on the road ahead and see you at our Cambridge summer events in 2019.

Very best wishes and season’s greetings

Professor Sumantra (Shumone) Ray
(NNEdPro Founding Chair and Executive Director)

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