GROWTH is an Innovative Training Network focused on European Industrial Doctorates (EID) that aims to train young business-oriented researchers in developing pathological insights, biomarker diagnostics and personalized nutritional interventions for intestinal failure in neonates and preterm infants.


The main objective of GROWTH is 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 puts forward four research aims that will equip young scientists with a unique blend of scientific competences during their doctoral programme:

- To define the metabolic components in breast milk that directly modulate gut epithelia or mucosal immune cells, and which in turn protect infants from conditions such as sepsis or NEC.

- To provide functional insights into the microbiota dysbiosis associated with preterm birth and to establish the role played by the gut microbiome in the metabolism of both breast milk and nutritional supplements provided in early life.

- To define bioactive microbial co-metabolites generated from intestinal or endogenous compounds that affect epithelia or mucosal immune cells in the gut, in relation to intestinal pathology.

- To analyse the metabolic profile data of longitudinally collected faecal samples and develop novel bioinformatics approaches for studying microbiome-host-nutritional interactions in large scale omics data sets that allow for biomarker discovery and stratification of dietary interventions in neonates and preterm infants.

8 Individual Research Projects

To progress beyond the state-of-the-art in early life nutrition and (chronic) intestinal disease, a new generation of innovation-minded researchers is needed who are able to tackle present challenges and develop 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. GROWTH's proposition is to create a network of young professionals, who

- have an in-depth, yet wide understanding of the field of early life nutrition in relation to intestinal inflammatory disease.

- are able to explore and translate pathogenic insights.

- are confident in applying state-of-the-art tools and knowledge necessary to concretize clinical developments, including in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo models.

- accelerate the identification of predictive biomarkers and the development of novel nutritional formulae.

- have open data science as well as enthusiastic industrial and regulatory mind-sets.

- at the same time, the deep industry-academia blended training will prepare the students to fast forward their career in health and life sciences across academic and industry sectors.