Présentation_Illustration vis à vis du texte_crédits INSERM

Strategic context

Announced for 2023, the “Food Systems, Microbiomes and Health (SAMS)” research program is funded as part of the French government’s “France 2030” investment plan, with €58 million in France 2030 aid deployed over 7 years.

The French government has entrusted INRAE and Inserm with its management. ANR is the operator.

This Program aims to meet the 6th objective of France 2030 “Investing in healthy, sustainable and traceable food to accelerate the agricultural and food revolution” and is part of the “Sustainable and healthy food” acceleration strategy.

PEPR’s ambition is to :

  • on the one hand, to help prevent and treat chronic inflammatory diseases by developing precision nutrition and personalized medicine;
  • and, secondly, to contribute to the design and evaluation of public policies on dietary behavior.

Scientific context

Over the last decade, a large number of research and clinical evidences have accumulated, identifying the microbiome and its interactions with vital organs as essential to individual health. Several factors, including diet and nutrition, are recognised as key elements in the composition and activity of microbiomes. There is therefore a consensus on the need to develop more sustainable systems that better meet public health and environmental objectives. On the one hand, nutritionists and public authorities need to understand what drives consumer behaviour and current dietary transitions, as well as their impact on health. On the other hand, health professionals need personalised and objectives indicators and biomarkers to implement evidence-based prevention strategies for the general population, and new therapeutic strategies for patients. This will lead to better health outcomes for citizens and reduce chronic diseases.

Program challenges

To meet these social and health challenges, the program is structured around two pillars: “microbiomes and health” and “food systems”.

The “microbiomes and health” pillar is based on the observation that changes in the microbiome are caused by factors such as diet, lifestyle, and exposure to pollutants and xenobiotics. Recent knowledge points to the importance of these factors as one of the causes of disruption of the microbiome and its interactions with the host, leading to the onset or aggravation of chronic inflammatory, autoimmune, metabolic, mental and neurodegenerative diseases, and even contributing to the failure of innovative treatments. However, their role and the associated mechanisms remain to be determined. The challenge of the “microbiomes and health” pillar is to answer these questions and to understand and determine the factors triggering the transition from a “normal/healthy” microbiome to an “unbalanced” state, in order to take personalized preventive measures and reduce the burden of microbiome-related chronic diseases.

The “food systems” pillar is based on the observation that changes in consumer eating habits are needed to address public health and environmental issues. However, such changes are difficult for many consumers. A major challenge is to identify and analyze the extent to which public or private interventions can encourage and support these transformations, at both individual and population level. It is also a question of determining how changes in consumer behavior can contribute to enabling evolutions in food supply, in the nutritional and environmental qualities of food products, as well as in deeper structural changes such as those induced by the relocalization of food systems. The “food systems” pillar therefore focuses on research into the determinants of changes in consumer behavior and the conditions under which these might contribute to the prevention of health risks at individual and population level.