What are the Expertise Clusters?

The issues and opportunities within R&D today can only be addressed by combining the skills from a number of different scientific and commercial disciplines. Although IFR does not have the solution to every scientific problem in the food industry, it can make a definitive contribution to many of the most important issues. We add real value by assembling these skills around key industrial scientific issues - to form what we call Expertise Clusters. In a Cluster IFR scientists meet with Food Industry professionals to draw on both skill bases to provide new insights into the issue or opportunity.

The ways in which the Clusters collaborate to follow through on these ideas depends on the nature and the membership of the cluster. Some progress by direct funding of a piece of work by the industrial members on a confidential basis, some are being addressed on a consortium basis with matching funding from external funding bodies - the goal remains the same - to improve the transfer of scientific knowledge to create wealth.

The basic proposition of each of the Clusters

Co-Product Exploitation

In this cluster we are contributing to new methods of analysing food processing waste and the development of novel, economically feasible methods of upgrading waste to increase its value.

Cluster Leader & Co-ordinator - Keith Waldron

Food Safety Cluster

Exploring current advances in predictive microbiology and risk analysis and develop improved decision support systems to manage microbial food risk. More..

Cluster Leader - Mike Peck

Cluster Co-ordinator - Sandra Stringer

Gut Health

A multidisciplinary group of scientists aimed at understanding how the intestinal gut functions as an integrated system. Topics include:

  • the molecular mechanisms underlying gut health and immune function in relation with the microbiota
  • the development of a technology-based toolbox (imaging, model colon) to assess impact of food-borne pathogens, food allergens, probiotics, dietary compounds on gut function
  • the development of intervention strategies to prevent gut-related diseases (pre/probiotics, functional carbohydrates, targeted delivery vehicles).


Cluster Leaderr - Simon Carding

Cluster Co-ordinator - Nathalie Juge

Plants Food & Health

This cluster will be of interest to agri-biotech companies developing plant derived products beneficial to health and those with an interest in enhancing nutrition through diet and plant derived natural products.  It will also interest those agencies concerned with giving dietary advice. More..

Cluster Leader - Richard Mithen

Cluster Co-ordinator - Charlotte Armah

Structuring Food for Health

Current research is focussed on the behaviour of colloidal and polymeric food structures in the gastrointestinal tract.

Leader - Pete Wilde and Alan Mackie

Co-ordinator - Mike Ridout

FHN Direct

Confidential discussions between FHN Members & IFR scientists. More...

Leader - Tim Brocklehurst

Co-ordinator - Elizabeth Saggers

FHN International

FHN International is concerned with networking on an International basis, attending Conferences and Events throughout Europe and the rest of the world, recruiting FHN Members; networking; disseminating IFR science, forming alliances and partnerships with organisations to enhance and further develop collaborative working.

Leader & Co-ordinator - Tim Brocklehurst

FHN International Hub

The FHN International Hub – A worldwide Network of our partner organisations involved in the science of food, diet and health. By linking this Network with our FHN Members, the Hub aims to maximise access for Members to scientific and industry opportunities throughout the world. 

Leader & Co-ordinator - Tim Brocklehurst



The nature of the Clusters is evolutionary as opportunities are investigated, or new clusters are identified. Members of FHN play a key part through our periodic consultation exercises in defining the focus for new clusters.


Contact FHN

Lesley Swift
FHN Development Manager
Food & Health Network,
Institute of Food Research,
Norwich Research Park,
Colney, Norwich, NR4 7UA, UK


T:+44 (0) 1603 255082
F:+44 (0) 1603 507723