GROWTH Network

The GROWTH consortium, funded by the European Commission (2019-2023), is made up to train a new generation of researchers working on new pathological insights, biomarker diagnostics and personalized nutritional interventions for intestinal failure in neonates and preterm infants.


Academic and industry partners, covering various disciplines ranging from fundamental research to clinical paediatrics and analytical chemistry to organoid and gut-on-chip applications, have teamed up in the European Union.

Research Programme

GROWTH aims to set-up a new European platform that trains young scientists in the industry-led exploration of innovative routes to fully exploit the potential of early life nutrition to prevent inflammatory disease. GROWTH coordinates 8 individual research projects.


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Leading AI and machine learning company Horaizon joins GROWTH consortium

HORAIZON joins EU-GROWTH consortium and supervises two PhD students during their secondments at its Delft office in the Netherlands.

Early life nutrition is critical for healthy development. Breastfeeding improves survival, health, and development of all children. However, breastfeeding is no longer a norm in many communities. Findings from epidemiological studies substantiate the fact that the decision to not breastfeed a child has major long-term effects on the health, nutrition and development of the child and on women’s health. In the past two decades it is demonstrated that crucial programming events that are modulated during breastfeeding can have protective lifelong effects for the infant. These events might be mediated directly by or through effects on the infant #microbiome. The ability of the microbiome to regulate host responses in infancy depends on individual bacterial species, immune regulation and metabolic responses.

The interplay between #nutrition, #gutmicrobiota, and its large number of metabolic and immune mediators plays an essential role in the development of gut immune homeostasis in #earlylife. This interaction needs to be better understood because a disturbed immune function in the neonatal period is harmful for neonatal survival and enhances the risk of chronic inflammatory disease later in life. In particular, preterm infants are at risk because of their immature gut and an associated intestinal state of dysbiosis, due to repeated administration of #antibiotics as part of routine clinical practice following preterm birth.

Therefore, for the first time, GROWTH integrates experts in (paediatric) gastroenterology, surgery, immunology, nutrition science, organ-on-a-chip model systems and 'omics technologies to train 8 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) scientists in the industry-led exploration of innovative routes exploiting the full potential of #earlylifenutrition to prevent disease. This will pave the way for #personalizedmedicine through effective solutions for early detection of disease and development of new dietary interventions for the prevention of intestinal failure in preterm #infants and #colitis later in life.