Medical University-Sofia became part of the project GIANT LEAPS Consortium (Horizon Europe Programme)

The Horizon Europe project GIANT LEAPS “Gap resolutIon in sAfety, Nutritional, alLergenicity and Environmental assessments to promote Alternative Protein utilization and the dietary shift” with a budget of 10.3 million euros of funding for 4 years, started with a Kick-off  physical meeting of all partners representatives on September 1, 2022. Medical University – Sofia was represented by the Academic Coordinator of the project, Prof. Dr. Ivan Dimitrov, who currently holds the position of professor at the Department of Chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University – Sofia. 

The GIANT LEAPS project will assess alternative protein sources, benchmark them against traditional animal proteins and define future diets optimized for environmental and health impact. The alternative protein sources that will be researched include plant-based proteins, microbe & fungal proteins, ocean-based proteins, insect-based proteins, cultured meat, and traditional proteins. The project will also address the challenges of using alternative protein sources for human food applications such as ingredients processing and food production; safety by design, including allergenicity; digestibility and health; and sustainability, biodiversity, and climate. The innovations and improved methods combined with accessible and comprehensive information, generated for a wide collection of alternative proteins, will enable policymakers to prioritise changes in the food system towards the dietary shift based on the desired impact; value chain actors to make strategic scientific, business and investment choices; and the general public to make more sustainable and healthy dietary choices.

The GIANT LEAPS consortium consists of 34 partners from across Europe, that range from start-ups to universities and research institutes to accommodate the multidisciplinary nature and scope of the project. In early September, project coordinator Dr Paul Vos from Wageningen Food & Biobased Research hosted the first project meeting in Wageningen, which provided the consortium partners with the opportunity to meet each other and plan for the 4-year duration of the project.