Inviting submissions

Fuelling innovation: £750k fund open to ideas on improved gluten-free food production

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Coeliac UK and Innovate UK are inviting academics and industry players to invite submissions on ideas to improve the lives of people living with gluten related autoimmune diseases. Pic: ©GettyImages/manyakotic
Coeliac UK and Innovate UK are inviting academics and industry players to invite submissions on ideas to improve the lives of people living with gluten related autoimmune diseases. Pic: ©GettyImages/manyakotic

Related tags: Gluten-free foods, Coeliac disease, Coeliac uk, Innovate uk, Competition, Food production

Coeliac UK and Innovate UK are inviting industry and academia to submit ideas on improving the detection and management of coeliac disease, as well as creating more nutritious and affordable gluten-free foods.

Researchers and businesses can apply for a share of £750k funding​ through three priority themes – healthcare diagnostics, digital self-care tools and better gluten free food production.

Grants will range from £50k to £250k.

Earlier this year, the UK charity set up the research fund as part of its 50th Anniversary activities to “change the future for people with coeliac disease and gluten related autoimmune conditions.”

One in 100 people in the UK has coeliac disease – causing the body’s immune system to adversely react to gluten and attack itself – and it currently takes an average of 13 years for the condition to be detected.

According to Coeliac UK, half a million people in the country remain undiagnosed.

“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,”​ said Sarah Sleet, CEO, Coeliac UK.

According to Coeliac UK, the fund’s coffers have already received an injection of £500k from Innovate UK and £250k from the charity, and it expects to receive more funds from industry, bringing total spend on new research to around £1m.

Making a difference

“By funding great new ideas that 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,”​ said Calum Murray, head of agriculture and food, Innovate UK.

One of the three key themes for applications is enhancing the quality and variety of gluten-free foods.

This can include novel ingredients, creating foods with improved nutrient profiles and desired flavor texture characteristics, and working with new methods of preservation and improving shelf life.

Closing date for submissions for funding is September 3, 2018.

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