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Nutrition is central to health and wellbeing. The relationship between diet, nutrition and health is well-recognised, yet the translation of evidence into policy and practice remains historically slow. Research is a cumulative process, and the open flow of information is key to the uptake of evidence into policy and practice.
There is growing interest in online knowledge hubs that provide open access to information for the public good, and in particular, platforms that facilitate that can foster collaboration between different stakeholders, such as content providers and users (e.g., health care professionals, researchers and policymakers), as collaborative efforts outweigh the sum of any individual efforts.
What is iKANN?
The International Knowledge Application Network Hub in Nutrition 2025 (iKANN) seeks to synthesise global evidence in food, nutrition and health, improve the workforce's nutrition capacity, and drive the implementation of evidence into policy and practice. The portal was launched on September 26th at the 6th NNEdPro International Summit and can be accessed at www.ikann.global.
Essential functions include a research registry for research protocols related to food, nutrition and health; an open data-sharing repository for population risk assessment data, signposting and commentary on regional surveillance data; and timely curated evidence collections that include a discussion forum to enhance collaboration and learning.
Knowledge to action: How iKANN drives knowledge translation and uptake
The process of knowledge translation is described as one that includes the synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethical application to improve health and strengthen the health care system, a key aim of the iKANN initiative. iKANN provides a timely synthesis of information and the tools to support knowledge inquiry and facilitate local adaptations of evidence-based policy and interventions. The training and commentary aim to help workforce capacity building in nutrition, which we anticipate will have a downstream impact on nutrition and health-related policy and practice.
The open-access element of the portal sustains knowledge use so that this cycle can be repeated and iteratively improved as users both contribute to and avail of the resources available. This process is described conceptually in the figure below.
Tackling Global Food Insecurity
Many countries face rising levels of food insecurity, with the poorest countries witnessing a sharp increase in food prices, as per the latest World Bank brief. Despite relative global stability in food prices, disrupted supply chains, inflation in domestic food prices, and reduced income remain the primary risk factor to food security on the country level, especially in light of COVID-19.
The NNEdPro Global Centre has identified the need for evidence curation and translation of knowledge to inform policy and practice, acknowledging the global impact of food security on nutrition and health. A timely collection on Food and nutrition insecurity will be linked to potential drivers, highlighting increasing demand, the necessity to meet the needs of specific groups, awareness and effectiveness of food supply chains, and concerns over sustainability in light of climate variability, conflicts and economic slowdowns. Through iKANN, NNEdPro is committed to supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 of the FAO Strategic Programme 1 (SP1) to end hunger and achieve food security, improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture.
The latest FAO report indicates food and nutrition insecurity is exacerbated by poverty and high levels of inequity, affecting the nutrition status of millions of people and leading to different forms of malnutrition around the world. iKANN relies on multisectoral donations and coordinated and courageous efforts to address global nutrition and food insecurity, acknowledging the role of developed countries to diminish inequities and benefit less fortunate societies.
Measurable Outcomes of iKANN
The measurable outcomes of this initiative will be improved translation of nutrition knowledge to action (as per the Knowledge-to-Action cycle) and facilitation of sharing and interaction within this cycle. Similarly, the ultimate outcome will be improved health outcomes for patients resulting in improved global health and improved economic outcomes for agriculturists.
Why invest in iKANN?
New knowledge can be transformed into socially valuable goods, services, policies, and programmes by sharing research data and evidence.
Investments into iKANN represent a commitment to credible, accessible and interdisciplinary research and education for the public good. As nutrition is lateral to social and economic development, investments into iKANN are a commitment to collaborative efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of populations.
Funding is vital to ensure continued open access to iKANN and the further development of key features. With 173 members already, iKANN has the potential to drive collaborative change and enhance the uptake of evidence into policy and practice.
You can donate to iKANN o this Just Giving page. If you would like to get in touch, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health
We are an award-winning, interdisciplinary think-tank, training academy and knowledge network. Our aim is to improve nutrition-related health outcomes by training professionals, strengthening research, implementing solutions and addressing inequalities.