Global firms join hands and launch BPNR to fight mal nutrition

The Business Platform for Nutrition Research (BPNR), first announced at the Nutrition for Growth Summit of the G8 and formally launched at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2013, is a multi-stakeholder platform for defining, funding and disseminating new research to improve nutrition in the developing world and for sharing existing knowledge which can impact the sector.

The founding companies: Ajinomoto, Arla Foods, BASF, Britannia, Royal DSM, GlaxoSmithKline, Mars Inc., Nutriset, PepsiCo, and Unilever, together with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), have committed to work in partnership in response to a clear need for new evidence to tackle the underlying causes of and solutions to global malnutrition.

The BPNR was formed to address the concern that investment in nutrition-related research and development (R&D) by both the public and private sectors is extremely limited, particularly in comparison to research in other global health and food security challenges. Nutrition is a complex and still relatively new science and large gaps in knowledge exist. The Business Platform for Nutrition Research will leverage the resources, skills and creativity of business to close a critical gap in understanding of global malnutrition, supported by world-class academic institutions and public sector expertise. Through collaboration on research focused on key nutrition issues and guided by the lens of potential commercial applications, the BPNR aims to ultimately provide lower income markets with better access to nutritious affordable foods.

In addition to its key business partners, the BPNR will elicit active involvement from a wide range of stakeholder groups, including donors, academia, civil society and national governments. The intent is that the research conducted should:

• Help close gaps in the global evidence base for good nutrition, particularly in how to best and most efficiently promote health and resilience
• Reduce barriers to entry for new products and technologies instrumental in helping against undernutrition

The Business Platform for Nutrition Research has committed to collaborating on the setting of research agendas, and for all research to be conducted transparently and independently by world-class academic institutions. This will ensure that research outcomes can be relied on and applied, both in new products and technologies and in the standards which regulate them.

Driven by a vision of a world without malnutrition, GAIN was created in 2002 at a Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly on Children. GAIN supports public-private partnerships to increase access to the missing nutrients in diets necessary for people, communities and economies to be stronger and healthier. With a reach of over 750 million people in more than 30 countries, GAIN’s goal is to improve the lives of one billion people by 2015 within the most vulnerable populations around the world through access to sustainable nutrition solutions. Coordination for the BPNR is led by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). GAIN serves as an honest broker between sectors to mobilize partners, help shape the research agenda and mobilize funding to implement the research, as well as to ensure that the BPNR aligns with other credible platforms in the sector to leverage expertise and existing infrastructure and to avoid duplication. GAIN will endeavor to ensure that the outcomes of the BPNR are in furtherance of the global nutrition agenda, shaped through platforms such as the Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

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