Solution Overview

Solution Name:

I-KANN

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One-line solution summary:

Open-access nutrition research and best practice hub, helping global practitioners address health inequalities and protect against pandemics

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Pitch your solution.

Good food and nutrition is essential to maintain healthy body functions and to prevent and fight infections. However, facilitated by online media platforms, unreliable and inaccurate information related to COVID-19 prevention and treatment, were largely disseminated during the COVID-19 pandemic, with several reports of people becoming seriously ill after following inaccurate advice. The promotion of clear, consistent, transparent and evidence-based information through trusted networks is needed to guide healthcare providers and Government actions during challenging times. The International Knowledge Application Network hub in Nutrition (iKANN) has the potential to become a unique online platform that facilitates access to curated scientific evidence, data and training, while also promoting global networking. As an open access platform, iKANN is accessible to all. With financial support and advice from well-positioned and expert organisations, IKANN will inspire and empower healthcare providers to make evidence informed decisions related to food, nutrition and health.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

Good food and nutrition are essential to promote body immune functions that are essential to prevent and fight infections, such as COVID-19. Good nutrition is also fundamental to manage non-communicable diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, considered risk factors for more severe COVID-19 severity and outcomes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation related to diet, nutrition and health magical solutions have emerged and has contributed to individual’s poor decision making, ill health and mortality. At the Government level, limited or delayed access to data and evidence-based interventions may have prevented rapid and effective actions to protect individual’s food security, nutrition and health. For example, the pandemic has exacerbated the existing food crisis, and impacted food production, processing, and distribution, with consequences such as food shortages, food waste, food price inflation, increased food insecurity and hunger. Currently, there is no open-access hub which hosts global evidence, data and training from agriculture to human nutrition for informed timely action. The lack of such a system and the need to improve the nutrition knowledge, skills and capacity for action of professional workforce can delay life-saving actions. This problem is addressed by the International Knowledge Application Network Hub in Nutrition

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What is your solution?

IKANN is an online, multi-function platform for informed and timely action. iKANN was conceptualised to be a one-stop-shop from ‘Farm to Fork’ information. iKANN has 10 functions, with four of them being closely integrated: a nutrition research registry, the thematic evidence collections, a data visualisation & testing sandbox, and training. The research registry will reduce duplications and maximise the use of funding for action in nutrition. The scientific evidence collections are curated and organised by an expert team to provide insight to the evidence landscape while facilitating easy access to information tailored to different needs. The data visualisation & testing sand box will enable the identification of trends and the testing of emerging hypothesis to facilitate collaborative action to address future global heath emergencies. Ultimately, the training function will provide access to high quality, scalable education and resources opportunities to improve capacity in nutrition, along with the opportunity to share experiences and lessons learned. The virtual aspect of iKANN allows for the rapid dissemination of resources. iKANN also fully embraces the UN Decade of Action for Nutrition and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to provide a unique and timely solution to the significant global nutritional and health challenges.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

By encompassing comprehensive aspects of the food system (production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste recovery) and health systems, iKANN will engage and serve multiple stakeholders including researchers, professionals, decision makers from a variety of sectors and service users. 

The research registry, for example, will promote standardisation and transparency in nutrition research which influences researchers practices and will have a downstream impact on professional practices and care provided to the public. It will also enable the rapid assessment of nutrition evidence being produced, allowing the identification of gaps and trends, and prioritisation of research areas by researchers and funding agencies.

The scientific evidence collections will highlight where evidence is robust and can inform policy and practice, which is relevant for professionals, decisionmakers and service users. It will also highlight research gaps for researchers.

The data portal will facilitate the evaluation and monitoring of relevant indicators of food, nutrition and health by professionals, decisionmakers, researchers and service users, and also data manipulation for hypothesis testing by researchers.

The training addresses needs of all stakeholders as it delivers bespoke education and guidance to improve nutrition knowledge and capacity that empower critical interactions with information and allow informed decision making on nutrition and health.

These actions are important to address the need for improved population nutrition and more resilient food and health systems, as highlighted by the COVID19 pandemic.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Prevent the spread of misinformation and inspire individuals to protect themselves and their communities, including through information campaigns and behavioral nudges.
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Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.

The IKANN portal is a multi-function innovative technology-based solution with the potential to protect populations, including the most vulnerable, from future disease outbreaks by increasing the knowledge, skills and capacity for action of the healthcare workforce. It directly empowers healthcare professionals, researchers, policy makers and the public to critically interact with data and evidence on nutrition and health. Our solution helps deliver the key aims of the solve community, in particular IKANN addresses the spread of misinformation and equip healthcare providers with the necessary knowledge and tools to provide effective solutions to disease outbreaks.  

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Cambridge, UK
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community.
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Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.

iKANN functions are currently under development. Thematic evidence collections have been released but require evaluation and improvement cycles to ensure they address public needs and interests. The nutrition research registry and the data visualisation & testing sandbox still need to be developed and implemented and start having impact. We believe a nutrition research registry is a unique function that currently does not exist. It directly responds to a need identified by emerging and established researchers. There is also a great need for open access to data, as by sharing knowledge we are in a better position to innovate and take action. Further development and evaluation of iKANN functions require funding. Without funding, iKANN cannot sustain free access to the wealth of resources it provides for social good. With 130 users from around the World already, iKANN has demonstrated the potential to have a breadth of impact.

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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Professor Sumantra Ray

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new technology
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What makes your solution innovative?

iKANN is a unique online multi-function platform which provides free access to data, evidence and training related to all aspects of food, nutrition and health.  iKANN is innovative as there are currently no existing platforms that provides open access to data, evidence and training from agriculture through to human nutrition and public health to empower individuals, healthcare professionals, researchers and Government actions. Furthermore, as mentioned previously, there is currently no research registry for nutrition-related research specifically, and the development of this function requires funding.

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Audiovisual Media
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
  • Pregnant Women
  • LGBTQ+
  • Infants
  • Children & Adolescents
  • Elderly
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
  • Persons with Disabilities
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 2. Zero Hunger
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Currently, iKANN has 130 members, from across the globe. Current members are from different walks of life, including policy makers, practitioners, researchers, students and the public. There is no limit to the number of people iKANN can serve, as it is open access and the information is relevant for many stakeholders. We anticipate the growth of iKANN to be organic, and the potential for impact is already clear.

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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

Impact and significance are measured via a ‘measurement framework’ underpinned by Operating Principles for Impact Management, with 25 short and long-term indicators specifically relating to knowledge input and uptake, engagement and downstream tracked changes in health outcome measures. The evaluation metrics consider iKANN’s insights, aspirations, actions and impact.

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Nonprofit

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How many people work on your solution team?

There are ten NNEdPro team members which make up the IKANN project team and global advisory panel and eleven additional advisory members.

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How long have you been working on your solution?

2 years.

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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

The NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health represents a multi-disciplinary think-tank, comprised of researchers, academics, dietitians, doctors and more. We develop adaptable and scalable educational models for nutrition capacity building in health systems. We also conduct a range of training courses as well as primary research studies and syntheses to fill key evidence gaps. Building upon over a decade of nutrition education, research and innovation, our team are well-placed to deliver this solution and evaluate and monitor the progress. 

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What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team?

NNEdPro processes are transparent and democratic. NNEdPro has a Diversity and Inclusivity panel to ensure diversity, equity and inclusivity.

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Your Business Model & Partnerships

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

In March 2020, the COVID-19 global pandemic prompted the World Health Organization to formally recognise the importance of ‘good nutrition’ to protect the immune system. Given the importance of optimal nutrition at a population level as part of social and economic recovery from COVID-19 and future health emergencies, IKANN provides an opportunity to share data, evidence and learnings that can help to overcome global and regional challenges. The Solve community are seeking technology-based solutions to protect all people from the impacts of disease outbreak, and IKANN is an excellent example of this. Participating in the Health Security & Pandemics Challenge provides a unique funding opportunity but also the chance to connect with like-minded individuals and organisations aiming to harness the power of data, evidence and global collaborations to mitigate the impact of global health emergencies and streamline global recovery.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Product / Service Distribution (e.g. expanding client base)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design, data analysis, etc.)
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Please explain in more detail here.

IKANN provides open access to curated resources for timely action in food, nutrition and health. iKANN was conceptualized to be a one-stop-shop for data, evidence, and capacity building from ‘Farm to Fork’ to improve food, nutrition and health practices globally. As a global platform which aims to stimulate collaborative discussion, iKANN promotes regional adaptation of innovative and effective solutions. We also anticipate that iKANN will improve food and health system and preparedness for global health emergencies, by providing open access to a wealth of resources.  iKANN has 10 functions, which together create an interactive membership experience. Key functions include a nutritionresearch registry, the scientific evidence collections and a data testing sandbox.  Funding would support the development of an open-access nutrition research registry and data testing sandbox. A portion of the funding amount will be used to support the development of a nutrition research registry, which will enable global standardising in format and promote quality standards in food, nutrition and health related research. The research registry will allow funding to be maximised by providing insight to gaps in the evidence and will foster global and interdisciplinary collaboration. There is currently, to the best of our knowledge, no existing registry for research specifically related to food and nutrition, and as such, this unique function has the potential for wide impact.

A portion of the funding amount will be used to support the development of a data testing sandbox, which will include population risk assessment data, signposting and commentary on regional surveillance data. It is anticipated that the nutrition research registry and data testing sandbox will drive innovation and collaboration to address challenges within food and healthcare systems, some of which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, this platform will provide a growing collection of curated datasets that can be used to better understand nutrition questions in contexts independent of any conflicting interests.

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

We would like to partner with organisations that focus on global issues/problems, eg. global& public health, disease, food insecurity, and human welfare. Some examples are: Our World in Data(https://ourworldindata.org/); Longview Philanthropy (https://www.longview.org/); Gates Foundation (https://www.gatesfoundation.org/); Alfred P Sloan Foundation (https://sloan.org/); Global Priorities Institute, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, SwissNex and other similar charitable, philanthropic or research institute or organisations. 

These organisations work closely with researchers in academic institutions, and policy makers in making research and data available and accessible for the public. This aligns with what NNEdPro’s iKANN platform has been set up to function as: an open data sharing repository covering topics such as public health, nutrition, food security and diseases. Some of these foundations or philanthropies are grant making bodies as well and provides funding to support research, education and innovation related to science and other areas and ensuring its wider reach to the society. With some of these organisations we will like to collaborate to contribute towards their evidence research and data collection (mainly acting as a bridge in filling in the gaps) and with others we would request donations/grants/funding support to continue developing and sustaining our iKANN platform and project.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Innovation for Women Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The AI for Humanity Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Global Fund Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No

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Solution Team

 
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