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Protecting our planet - a focus on the health and well-being of mankind

The population of our planet continues to grow and 60% more food is needed to feed a total of nine billion. So the question has to be, where do we begin when it comes to looking after the health and well-being of mankind?

If we look at statistics provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), access to sufficient safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and chemical substances cause more than 200 diseases with 420,000 of us dying every year. At the opposite end of the spectrum, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are leading global risks to health. The poorer countries are suffering due to lack of safe food and in the West, people are killing themselves due to eating too much of the wrong type of food.

People also want to live longer provided that their physical and mental health is good. This new ageing population will create new demands for technologies, products and services. In the West, our rate of decline is determined by our lifestyle and the environment we live in. What we eat, physical activities undertaken and exposure to smoking, alcohol or toxic substances are all factors to be considered.

This issue is also featuring in the news:

  • In August 2018, WHO and the Federal Ministries of Health, Industry, and Commerce in Sudan got together to look at the findings of a report of the cost-benefit analysis of wheat flour fortification in Sudan.
  • During the same month, the Lancet published an article regarding a new type of bed net that could prevent millions of malaria cases, currently killing a child every two minutes.
  • BBSRC have also recently published a brief with regard to the importance of nutrition for the health and well-being of society.

The YES alumni have also been doing their bit to aid health and wellbeing

Alauna Diagnostics (University of Reading) developed a unique and rapid point-of-care diagnostic test for endometriosis.

Algagen (University of Birmingham) produced a swine feed supplement made from algae engineered to express a range of antibodies targeting enteric pathogens significantly reducing pig mortality.

BubbleRipe (University of Birmingham) invented a biodegradable bag with aluminium bubbles containing ethylene (fruit-ripening gas) offering a solution to address food wastage by allowing customers to ripen fruit at home at their convenience.

Fortuna Solutions (University of Manchester) developed a novel, safe and effective oral formulation to protect salmon against parasitic sea lice, the biggest burden on the salmon aquaculture industry.

Nutec (University of Liverpool) developed a novel diet aid that acts to reduce the uptake of dietary sugar into the blood in order to combat the obesity epidemic.

ZooTech (University of Liverpool) novel phage-based preventative medicine aimed at targeting Campylobacter in broiler chickens before slaughter reducing antibiotics usage and increasing the safety of chicken meat.

BioTherma Ltd (University of Manchester) genetically modified composting bacteria to produce temperatures in excess of 200°C. This thermal energy is then converted into electricity, enabling the conversion of organic waste into kilowatts more efficiently than any other process.

What’s your innovative idea for #YES18?

For the Biosciences, Health and Wellbeing workshop, remember your challenges are as follows: 

  • Animal health
  • Diagnostic tests and medical devices
  • Enhancing food safety
  • Global food security
  • Health and wellbeing through diet
  • Healthy ageing
  • Optimising processes and managing waste
  • Safer and more sustainable supply chains
  • Synthetic biology. 

Whatever mind-boggling ideas you have for #ProtectOurPlanet, we want to hear about them.

Find out more about #YES18

Young Entrepreneurs Scheme

  • Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Nottingham University Business School
  • Jubilee Campus
  • Nottingham, NG8 1BB