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On June 25, 2024, the Institute 4 Preventive Health (i4PH) together with the Healthy and Safe Food System strategic research programme of Wageningen University & Research (WUR), the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, hosted a community get-together at the Akoesticum in Ede. The event, aimed at shaping the future of health in the Netherlands and beyond, brought together a diverse group of 50 researchers, societal partners and policymakers to discuss and advance innovation in nutrition and health.

Opening session

The event began with a walk-in lunch, providing attendees with an opportunity to network and discuss their expectations for the day. The official opening commenced featured introductions to Healthy and Safe Food Systems programme and the Institute 4 Preventive Health. It was a start to the get-together and perfectly showed how an interdisciplinary mindset can lead to new collaborations to advance preventive health.

Keynote lectures

The first keynote lecture was delivered by Nosheen Hasan Burney from the Directorate of Nutrition, Health Protection and Prevention of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Burney outlined the Ministry’s vision for a preventive healthcare system by 2040, focusing on goals, outcomes, initiatives, and policy changes. The talk emphasized collaboration, addressing health disparities, resource allocation, and health economics to demonstrate cost-effectiveness. “

“Collaboration between national regional and local government, science, schools, ngo’s, companies and citizens, is paramount for protection and prevention in the Health Care system.”

Nosheen Hasan Burney

Following Burney, Wouter Boon, Professor of Innovation and Transition Studies at Utrecht University, gave a keynote lecture on the transition towards more preventive health. Boon introduced concepts from transition studies, explaining how the shift towards preventive health begins, the main challenges involved, and what is needed to overcome these obstacles.

“To solve wicked problems technology and society need to co-evolve.”

Wouter Boon


Following the keynotes, attendees participated in one of two interactive workshops:

Healthy Living Environment– WUR researcher Marleen Onwezen led a session on creating a healthy living environment, covering various aspects that contribute to physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Topics included physical health, mental and emotional health, safe and comfortable living and working spaces, and the importance of a clean and safe environment.

Sustainable Health & Nutrition – WUR researcher Diederik Esser’s workshop explored the concept of sustainable nutrition, emphasizing an optimal, health-promoting diet that is culturally acceptable, easily accessible, and eco-friendly. Within the session the participants discussed the aspects of lifestyle, sustainability, and more thereby working towards a holistic approach required to address this topic and the need for engagement from consumers, governments, and industry stakeholders.

Closing session and networking

The workshops concluded with a plenary session at where feedback from the workshops was shared. The event wrapped up with networking drinks, allowing participants to further discuss the day’s insights and establish potential collaborations.

By bringing together researchers, policymakers, and societal partners, the institute 4 Preventive Health, alongside its collaborators, sparked a collaborative effort aimed at advancing innovation in nutrition and health. From envisioning a preventive healthcare system to exploring sustainable nutrition practices, the discussions of the day highlighted the transformative potential of interdisciplinary cooperation. We are looking forward to seeing you at our next Get-Together event!