The global burden of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs, e.g. obesity, diabetes, CVD, malignancies), infectious diseases (e.g. malaria, measles) and the ‘double burden of disease’ in both Western and Low & Middle Income Countries (LMIC) call for optimizing the intake of nutrient-dense plant foods relative to animal-sourced foods. Because of the current climate concerns and the growing world population this should go hand-in-hand with reducing the environmental footprint of plant- & animal-based food production, processing and distribution systems (e.g., GHG-emissions, land use). These societal challenges are recognized by governments and food chain actors at national and global level. For research, this requires evaluation of synergies and trade-offs between health, environment and other functions of the food system. A system approach is needed, that allows for interdisciplinary collaboration and involvement of societal actors in the food chain and at various policy levels.
The course welcomes PhD students and post-docs as well as professionals from industry and research centers. It will build on insights from environmental, biomedical and social sciences; nutrition, epidemiology, agricultural, ecological and behavioral sciences, etc. Basic scientific knowledge on concepts and methods and study designs in qualitative and quantitative research is assumed.
The course uses a food systems approach to sustainably address societal challenges re food and nutrition security, under- and over-nutrition, global health and environmental protection. It aims to broaden disciplinary thinking in agriculture, food sciences, nutrition and health to arrive at an interdisciplinary research perspective. Moreover, to arrive at a viable food system, it aims to contribute to synergy between scientific disciplines, applied research and stakeholders along the food supply chain.
After participation the participant:
- Appreciates the interdisciplinary concept of sustainability, the relevance and contributions of disciplines beyond his/her own expertise, and the role of stakeholders including consumers.
- Has a deepened understanding of the key scientific and societal issues relevant to advancing healthy food systems (agricultural production, global burden of disease, environmental protection)
- Is inspired to contribute to a systems approach in his/her future career in scientific research and/or societal innovation; understands what this implies for conduct of research and data stewardship
- Knows to use systems thinking to critically evaluate current research on sustainable and healthy diets and can suggest useful directions for research, food chain actors and policy makers
The course consists of lectures, data practicals, discussion with stakeholders and faculty.
- Current knowledge base: Lectures to obtain an overview of food systems and population health; assessment and evaluation of environmental sustainability and health impact of current dietary patterns and dietary changes.
- Food systems: lectures to understand the principles and indicators and of healthy diets, global health and environmental sustainability; basic and advanced optimization methods. Policy alternatives, spatial heterogeneity, foresight and scenario’s
- Practical work: gain a critical attitude by performing basic calculations of the impact of dietary changes on nutritional health and sustainability
- Societal debate with public and private stakeholders in the food system: Balancing health with social, ecologic, and economic sustainability
Research needs: filling research gaps, advancing methodology, enabling research infrastructures, data stewardship
- Prof Pieter van ‘t Veer, Wageningen University & Research, Division of Human Nutrition, PI "Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy People".
- Dr Kasper Hettinga, Wageningen University & Research, Food Quality and Design Group
- Prof Erik Millstone, Emeritus Professor Science Policy, University of Sussex
- Prof Thom Huppertz, Wageningen University & Research, Food Quality and Design Group
- Researchers from European and global projects, e.g. Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security (SUSFANS), Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH),etc.
- Research and teaching staff from Wageningen University and Research Centre (involved in Global One Health)
Date & duration
The course will be held from 8-10 July 2019. The course will start on Monday at 13.30hrs, and will finish on Wednesday at 13.30hrs.
The study load of this course is 0.8 ECTS credits.
The course language will be English.
For more information please contact: Mrs. Yvonne Smolders
The Graduate School VLAG
P.O. Box 17
6700 AA Wageningen
Phone: +31 317 485108
Registration & course fee
To register go to the course registration form.
The number of participants to the course is limited to 30. The final registration date is 8 June 2019. Registrations are accepted in the order in which the course fee payment is received.
Applicants will be informed of acceptance of their registration before 8 June 2019. They will then receive instructions for payment, a letter of acceptance and further course details.
The course fee (which includes downloadable materials, coffee/tea during breaks, lunches on Tuesday and Wednesday and one dinner but does not cover accommodation) depends on the participant's affiliation:
The course fee
|VLAG/WU PhD candidates
|| € 175
|| € 400
|University staff / Postdocs / Non profit organisations
|| € 525
|Industry / For-Profit
|| € 800
- No charge until 8 June 2019
- 25% of the course fee paid or due till 1 July 2019
- No refund after 1 July 2019
- Substitutions may be made at any time.