Major new international research hub to tackle child stunting

Birkbeck will develop a decision support tool which will enable users to compare the impact and outcome of interventions undertaken during this major project.

Credit: Sneha Krishnan, LSHTM

Professor Peter Wood from Birkbeck’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems will be contributing to the work of a major new international research hub that aims to further our understanding of the causes of stunting. Up to one million children could benefit from the 19.76m research hub led by the London International Development Centre (LIDC) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

Stunting impacts 155-165.8 million children worldwide. In 2012, the World Health Assembly recognised that child stunting was ‘one of the most significant impediments to human development’ and resolved to reduce the number of children under five who are stunted by 40% by 2025.

The ‘UKRI GCRF Action against Stunting Hub’ is an interdisciplinary team comprising researchers from 18 institutions. Running for a five-year period from March 2019 –March 2024, the Hub aims to transform current research on child undernutrition or stunting. The team proposes to change the focus of investigation of child undernutrition from individual components of the problem to the ‘whole child’, understanding the biological, social, environmental and behavioural context in which stunting occurs.

Birkbeck's contribution to the project will be the development of a decision support tool.  This tool will provide integrated access to the project baseline and intervention data across the biological, social and environmental studies, enabling users to compare the impact and outcome of interventions undertaken during the project.

Professor Wood said: “Child stunting is a major global challenge and I am pleased to be part of an interdisciplinary team that has the potential to make a significant impact in this area.”

The UKRI GCRF ‘Action against Stunting Hub’ will aim to reduce child stunting by up to 10% across communities in India, Indonesia and Senegal. It is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), which is a key component in delivering the UK AID strategy.

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