TCD-led Consortium Awarded €1 million by Irish Aid to Research Nutrition and HIV in Uganda

Posted on: 24 July 2012

Trinity College Dublin has received an award of just over €1m for a project, NOURISH, that will investigate nutrition and HIV treatment outcomes through the development of  a Ugandan/Irish research collaboration. It aims to understand factors that affect the sustainability of treatment responses to HIV.  The award was made to the TCD led project under the Programme of Strategic Cooperation between Irish Aid and Higher Education and Research Institutes, Round 3.

Trinity researchers with expertise in health sciences, natural sciences and economics will design and deliver interventions to determine the impact of environmental, health and economic factors on the experience and outcomes of Ugandans living with HIV/AIDS.  NOURISH will create a HIV/Nutrition research cluster of academics, clinicians and policy contributors from Ireland and Uganda.  The cluster will be led by TCD with key partners Makerere University and the Infectious Diseases Institute at MU, Gulu University and the Joint Clinical Research Centre, and supporting partners University College Dublin and King’s College London.

The NOURISH proposal was coordinated by the Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) and involves researchers from the Schools of Medicine, Social Sciences and Philosophy, Natural Sciences and the Institute for International Integration Studies (IIIS) at TCD.

Commenting on the significance of the project, Principal Investigator Dr Martina Hennessy  of the School of Medicine says: “We are truly delighted to have received funding for NOURISH, a project which we feel is vital to understanding and alleviating the effects of HIV/AIDS in Uganda.  This project will increase our understanding of the complex interactions between food security (i.e when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy life), HIV/AIDS and socio-economic factors, to impact intervention programmes at national level and benefit the poor in Uganda.  This is an exciting opportunity for all involved in the project, as capacity to deliver world-class research and teaching will be built in the Ugandan partner institutions through training of existing and new academic and clinical staff.”

TCD’s NOURISH proposal will inform Irish Aid’s research and policy strategy around health and HIV/AIDS, and hunger in Uganda. The research priorities chosen have a direct relevance to addressing the poverty-related diseases of HIV and malnutrition.  Project interventions have the potential to have a significant positive impact on the wellbeing of poor people in Uganda and similar environments throughout Africa.  Poor nutritional status and food insecurity is associated with immunological impairment and adverse health outcomes among children and adults infected with HIV, who are receiving treatment. Although Uganda’s response to HIV/AIDS has been recognised to be relatively effective, there are emerging issues which require urgent attention.  The NOURISH project aims to investigate these issues and deliver effective interventions with projected outcomes including: increased responsiveness, resilience and empowerment for health.

About International Development at TCD

This is the second, successful, high-profile Irish Aid grant awarded to TCD. In Round 2 of the Programme of Strategic Cooperation TCD was awarded €1.5 million for the project ‘Doctoral Training for Development in Africa’, to establish the Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) and the International Doctoral School in Global Health (Indigo) established by the Centre for Global Health and the  School of Medicine. This award is currently funding PhD training for nine African students through partnerships with universities in East Africa.

TCD has a long history of engagement with international development and a vibrant community of researchers and students working on international development issues. This includes over 100 researchers working across the university’s three faculties and more than 80 postgraduate students enrolled in MSc Global Health, MSc Environment and Development and the TCD/UCD Master’s in Development Practice. Furthermore, there are a significant number of doctoral students linked to research centres including the Institute for International Integration Studies (IIIS) and the Centre for Global Health among others. TCD established the Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI), supported under Round 2 of the PSC, to coordinate research, teaching and outreach relating to international development. TIDI is financially supported by the university and by a range of individual schools and research centres including the Institute for International Integration Studies (IIIS), School of Medicine, School of Natural Sciences and School of Psychology. TCD has committed to the sustainability of TIDI beyond the life of Round 2 of the Programme of Strategic Cooperation (PSC) and has recently recognised International Development as one of the university’s priority research themes.