On 20 February 2014, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)*1 announced that they would commence support for 3 coordinated projects on the topic of “Functional Foods”. This support, within the framework of JST-MBIE Coordinated Research, will be provided as an activity of JST’s FY2014 Strategic International Collaborative Research Program (SICORP)*2. The selected projects are as follows:
(1) “Blackcurrant Foods for Managing Human Carbohydrate Metabolism and Cognitive Wellness”
(Toshihiko OSAWA, Professor, Faculty of Psychological & Physical Science, Aichi Gakuin University and Roger HURST, Science Group Leader, Food & Wellness Group, Food Innovation Portfolio, The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited)
In this research, we will perform a joint study between Japan and New Zealand on how the functional ingredients contained in blackcurrants may improve the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism and cognitive wellness with or without exercise, and aim to develop new functional foods.
(2) “Functional Food Solutions for Optimal Immune Development and Allergic Avoidance”
(Noriko M TSUJI, Senior Researcher, Biomedical Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Elizabeth FORBES-BLOM, Team Leader, Malaghan Institute)
The purpose of our research is the mitigation or prevention of food-induced allergic responses via control of intestinal microbiota. The goal is to develop optimal immunity in early life and to maintain immune homeostasis throughout the lifetime by intervention and solutions with functional foods such as pre and pro-biotics and fermented foods.
(3) “Extraction, analytical characterization and functionality evaluation of marine lipids and carotenoids sourced from molluscs and marine algae”
(Masashi HOSOKAWA, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University and Paul Simon McNABB, Technical Manager, Cawthron Institute)
The aim of this project is to characterize marine lipids in New Zealand aquaculture products. By evaluation of beneficial health effects based on bioassay and chemical analyses, new values of the seafood products as functional foods will be demonstrated, thereby enhancing income of those aquaculture and seafood industries.
A total of 9 proposals were submitted in response to the joint call for proposals implemented by JST and MBIE, which closed in October 2014.
Separate expert evaluations were commissioned by the two parties and conducted according to their respective criteria. In Japan, the Program Officer and advisors assessed the quality of the research plans and expected effectiveness of exchange among other aspects. Based on the evaluation results from both parties, JST and MBIE discussed in depth and jointly decided on the 3 successful projects to select for funding.
Support for both the Japanese and New Zealand teams will continue for about two years.
- *1 MBIE:
MBIE plays a central role in shaping and delivering a strong New Zealand economy. For more details, please visit the MBIE homepage:
- *2 Strategic International Collaborative Research Program (SICORP):
SICORP is a “top-down type” program that provides support to international research projects with countries and regions, in fields of cooperation designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Science and Technology (MEXT) on the basis of intergovernmental agreements.
For more details, please visit the SICORP homepage:
Hideo NAKAJIMA (Dr.)
Department of International Affairs, JST
K’s Gobancho, 7, Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0076