Coeliac UK has joined forces with Innovate UK to drive improvements worth £750,000 in the food technology, diagnostics and digital care industries.
The funding will support projects based in Birmingham, Newcastle and Edinburgh and is part of Innovate UK’s partnership with the third sector on health research projects.
The UK has been at the forefront of the most dynamic growth area in free from food retailing and Coeliac UK is the world’s largest support organisation for people with coeliac disease.
This collaboration aims to build on these strengths by supporting research advances in food technology, diagnostic techniques and digital care.
Sarah Sleet, Chief Executive of Coeliac UK, said: “This new research to create a different diagnostic test could help unlock a worldwide problem for millions of people without a proper diagnosis of coeliac disease, while the research on innovative gluten free ingredients will keep the UK ahead in the food industry’s expansion into gluten free.
“Meanwhile our third funded project could offer real savings to the NHS in the management of the lifelong autoimmune condition that is coeliac disease providing a service model for the many other chronic long-term conditions in the UK.”
Dr Kath Mackay, Director of Ageing Society, Health and Nutrition at Innovate UK, said: “By working with Coeliac UK we will be able to offer funding that results in improved quality of life for people with this condition and support and stimulate our vibrant health care and food technology sectors.”
Overcoming the key challenges
The first of the three projects is led by Nonacus and takes place in Birmingham and aims to develop a less invasive way of diagnosing coeliac disease.
The second is spearheaded by Nandi Proteins in Scotland and will see the development of three new plant proteins to help improve the ingredients used in gluten free bread.
Finally, the third project will take place in Newcastle where Cievert will utlise software innovation to help in the ongoing management of coeliac disease.