ILSI North America vs the European Branch: A Closer Look
500 years ago, the average life expectancy for humans was between 30 and 40 years old. Pretty depressing, right?
Today, the average life expectancy is more than 75 years in most developed counties. That’s a huge increase.
And what caused such a rise in life expectancy? There are countless factors, but we can all agree that advances in science, medicine, and nutrition are some of the most important.
Today, organizations like ILSI North America, along with the European branch, are responsible for in-depth research on food, nutrition, and the health and safety of our bodies to further increase health and life expectancy.
Wondering what happens at these facilities of international life sciences? Keep reading to learn more about the North American and European branches of the Life Sciences Institute.
What Is International Life Sciences Institute?
So what is the ILSI? It’s a global nonprofit foundation with centers of research in many parts of the world.
The primary headquarters is here in the American capital; Washington DC. Additional branches can be found in Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia.
The foundation was founded in 1978 and has an official affiliation with the World Health Organization (WHO). ILSI is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that partners with WHO.
The overall goal of the foundation is to bring together some of the brightest minds in the world of science, both from academia and the public and private sectors, to collaborate on solutions that would better the health of the general public.
They seek to find ways to improve human health and boost physical and mental well-being, all without doing harm to the environment. It’s a lofty goal and one that requires an ample amount of resources.
Why ILSI Is So Effective
ILSI has published dozens of life science publications. They host numerous events each year. And they have created tens of thousands of scientific videos, available to the public on YouTube, to educate the masses.
For more than 40 years, they have been performing research that achieves their goal of improving human health worldwide. But how does this happen?
They prioritize collaboration between entities that don’t often work together. ILSI believes that the most effective research happens when scientists with different backgrounds and agendas all work together.
That’s why academic-based scientists work alongside public and private-based researchers. When this collaboration happens, transparency is also prioritized.
All agendas are made known, all goals are shared, and all sources of funding are disclosed. There aren’t any secrets, and it allows all parties to work together effectively towards the future of life sciences.
As a nonprofit organization, the ILSI does not engage in lobbying or direct political activity. They approach their scientific research from a neutral perspective with the goal of helping humankind. They have the highest certifications of transparency at the moment.
ILSI North America
ILSI began in the United States. The main headquarters is conveniently located in Washington DC.
Up until a few years ago, the organization was made up of various member companies. These spans the food and beverage industry, agricultural industry, and a few other industries.
But a recent restructuring now consists of 17 different non-profit entities all working together under the ILSI flag.
In 2021, the North American branch rebranded and renamed its entity. The North American brand is now called the Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS).
IAFNS currently has a lot of studies and partnerships happening. For example, they are working with Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN). The goal is to learn more about the presence of heavy metals in the food we eat every day.
The goal is to identify what foods these metals are getting into and what steps can be taken to minimize this going forward.
Other ongoing studies in North America include malnutrition, which leads to increased hospital visits as well as caffeine intake, and the effects of the great American addiction.
ILSI Europe still operates under the original ILSI name. ILSI Europe was created eight years after the original branch.
This branch currency has over 40 different companies that are members of the organization. To be a member, these companies contribute financially to the organization.
Each of these companies is equally represented in the organization. They can select one individual from their company to legally represent the company in the General Assembly of ILSI.
This group is the ultimate decision-making force of the organization.
ILSI Europe has a number of other teams involved in the organization as well. This includes the Nomination Committee, the Board of Directors, and the Scientific Advisory Council.
These teams are organized very specifically. For example, the Board of Directors must have less than 50% of its members from academia. Rules like this help keep each team and decision-making group balanced. It bolsters integrity and transparency.
How Projects Move Forward in Europe
There are two more important groups that makeup ILSI Europe; task forces and expert groups.
Task forces are the groups that identify new areas and topics of interest. They will suggest topics that are worthy of further research and submit proposals to the rest of the organization.
Task forces are made up of the official representative of any interested member company.
Not only do they initiate and develop these new projects, but if approved by the General Assembly, they will also manage these projects.
They do this with the use of Expert Groups. EGs are the groups of scientists who will actually complete the work as outlined by the Task Force.
The members of the Expert Group are hand-selected by the Task Force. They’re the ones who perform the research. They collect and analyze data, and create scientific publications regarding their findings.
Lifechanging and Lifesaving Research
Over the last 40 years, ILSI North America (now known as IAFNS) has performed life-changing research that has improved the health of the general public.
And today, many other branches, including the European branch, are doing this work as well with its various member companies. Overall, the foundation is tackling some of the biggest threats to our health and wellbeing every single day.
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