Aim of the nutriCARD-Cluster

The Competence Cluster for Nutrition and Cardiovascular Health (nutriCARD) provides the unique opportunity to achieve a holistic translational approach from basic research to practice in real-life by the development of innovative cardioprotective food products, evaluation of their effects in humans and implementation of new nutrition strategies; thus nutriCARD will improve cardiovascular health.

nutriCARD began in May 2015 as a cooperative effort by the three regional universities in the ‘Universitätsbund Halle-Jena-Leipzig’, the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Institute of Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences), the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Institute of Nutrition), and Leipzig University (Institute of Food Hygiene). NutriCARD is a consortium of academic partners, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), private and public organizations in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia which all combine expertise in the fields of nutrition and food, cardiovascular ageing and health, as well as communication and education, in Central Germany.

The general objectives are:

  1. The development and marketing of cardio-protective food to reduce the intake of fat, in particular saturated fatty acids and salt.
  2. A better understanding of disease processes and clarification of mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases by using cell and animal models as well as human intervention studies. In cohort studies the gene-nutrient interactions and their contribution to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) will be unraveled.
  3. The development of innovative concepts and communication strategies for the general public with the aim of improving dietary patterns.

Structure of the nutriCARD Cluster

nutriCARD joins together forces and creates synergies to strengthen and improve cardiovascular health in the general public with the aim of reducing cardiovascular disease. This cooperative, translational research approach brings together a consortium of academic partners, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as private and public organizations in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia in an intensive effort to efficiently turn research into practice, and practice in turn to aid research, to achieve its aims. This collaboration is enhanced by the three universities in the region with strong experience in the relevant fields. The nutriCARD cluster combines expertise in nutrition and food, cardiovascular (CV) ageing and health, communication and education in central Germany; the vision is to establish both a national and international centerpoint for collective research in the field of nutrition and health, the "German Center for Nutritional Research and Prevention of Nutrition-related Diseases".

This translational approach (“bench to bedside”) is advanced by the structure of the project, beginning with innovative R&D groundwork, and comprising a cluster coordinator, steering committee, front office and innovation offices - all ready to bring this novel approach to fruition.

The nutriCARD cluster will be directed by a Steering Committee comprised of a representative from each of the participating three universities: Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Leipzig University. Coordination of the project will be under the ultimate responsibility of Jena.

The nutriCARD front office is located in Jena (Saale) and has the primary responsibility for the coordination of the project; ensuring that the public is informed of scientific results, exposed to important nutritional concepts, strategies, and innovative food products with the aim of reducing cardiovascular disease.

nutriCARD offers a postgraduate program to doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows for further intensive scientific training and career development. Participating scientists are trained in regularly-held seminars and workshops to continually broaden their research focus as well as extending research to interdisciplinary topics.

The nutriCARD Innovation Office at the Halle (Saale) site is responsible for ensuring the seamless sharing of information between the scientific, business and medical entities, in particular between SMEs in the regional agri-food sector and academic institutions. It provides advice and initiates third-party funding for new product ideas and supports the market launch of innovative food products. It also offers workshops on relevant topics in nutritional science.