The not-for-profit organisation under Chinese health and nutrition giant H&H will be giving out research grants from its Guangzhou and Geneva offices.
The former will accept research proposals from China while the latter will accept proposals from worldwide.
The grant is looking to fund projects headed by research scientists from universities, hospitals, or leading academic institutions.
Research proposals should focus on one of the five areas: microbiota, infant brain development, child nutrition and obesity, allergy, and lastly, the women’s health around pregnancy.
The research fund first started in China in 2015 and later expanded to accept proposal from Europe two years ago.
This time round, the BINC Geneva will award EUR$50k (per preclinical study) to EUR$100k (per clinical study) to fund five research proposals.
For the first time, the Geneva office will accept proposals from areas outside of Europe and aim to accept proposals from all over the world, as far as South East Asia and the Oceania.
Gertrude Gentile-Rapinett, lead of BINC Geneva and senior manager of global science and communications at H&H Group told NutraIngredients-Asia that for past years, most of the proposals received were from Switzerland and France, and it was hoped that researchers from other neighbouring countries and other regions would apply for the grant.
As clinical studies tend to be costly, the organisation has thus upped the grant for each clinical study from EUR$50k to EUR$100k this year.
Growing number of applicants
Elsewhere in China, lead of BINC China and senior manager of science and communications at H&H Group, Yoyo Wang told us that RMB$200k would be given out to each project, regardless of whether it is a clinical or preclinical study, and five research proposals would be eventually selected.
She said that the number of applicants has been growing each year, growing from 90 in 2018 to 126 last year. Whereas for the Geneva office, 85 applications were received last year.
“We select the proposals to fund based on the quality and significance of the project,” Wang said.
On top of that, since the program first started in China in 2015, the organisation also dedicates RMB$1.2m each year to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study maternal and infant health. The grant given to CDC would fund about 20 to 30 projects.
The aim of the funding is for the research findings to be published in a peer-reviewed journal to diffuse the outcomes of the study to the broader scientific community.
“The grant acts as a bridge to bring industry and the academic together. This is a long -term plan to bring health benefits to the whole society,” she added.
Deadline for application closes on Mar 16 for BINC Geneva and Mar 15 for BINC Guangzhou.
Microbiota a hot topic
Over the past few years, it has been noticed that microbiota was an overwhelmingly popular area of research as seen from the research proposals received.
“Microbiota is an extremely hot topic…There is also a growing number of applications relating to research on skincare and breastmilk composition,” said Wang.
For both BINC Guangzhou and Geneva, over 40% of the applications touch on topics related to the microbiota.
Past microbiota projects which received funding looked at the role of microbiota in brain homeostasis in adulthood and early life and how modulation of early life gut microbiota could prevent long-term effects.
“What we found is that there is a lot of cross-talk in microbiota, there is microbiota and the brain, and microbiota and allergy, so there are many things within the microbiota area,” said Gentile-Rapinett.