FAFS alumna Joana Abou-Rizk won the "BCFN YES!" 2017 Research Grant Competition

​​We are proud to announce that Ms. Joana Abou-Rizk and Ms. Theresa Jeremias, Ph.D. candidates and nutritionists, won the “BCFN YES! 2017” Research Grant Competition of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) Foundation for their project entitled “Maternal and Child Nutrition among Refugees and Host Communities in Greater Beirut, Lebanon: A Focus on Anemia”. This research project is jointly supervised by the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the Institute for Biological Chemistry and Nutrition at the University of Hohenheim in Germany.

The BCFN YES! Research Grant Competition, active since 2012, invites 10 selected finalists (Ph.D. students and post-doc researchers under 35) each year from around the world to present their innovative projects focusing on food sustainability in front of a panel of experts. At the 2017 edition of BCFN YES! (Young Earth Solutions), the 10 finalists were selected after a rigorous review of 135 proposals of doctoral students and post-doc researchers from 43 countries on all continents.

Ms. Abou-Rizk and Ms. Jeremias received the award, along another winner from Italy, during a live ceremony as part of the 8th International Forum and Food and Nutrition in Milan, Italy on December 5, 2017. The award is comprised of a one year research grant, allowing the young researchers to find effective and sustainable solutions to food and nutrition security.

The research project aims at a first stage to assess the prevalence and determinants of anemia among Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities in in Greater Beirut, and in particular among children under five and women of reproductive age, using a cross-sectional design. The second phase of the project has the objective to develop a sustainable nutrition education intervention promoting locally affordable and culturally appropriate foods and to test its effectiveness in raising hemoglobin levels of mildly anemic women and children under five. 

The Lebanese Ph.D. candidate Abou-Rizk is a FAFS alumna with a M.Sc. in Nutrition (2013), holds a Graduate Diploma in Food Security (2015) and is a recipient of the Excellence Ph.D. Scholarship (DAAD supported) by the Food Security Center at the University of Hohenheim in Germany.

The German Ph.D. candidate Jeremias holds a M.Sc. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Hohenheim and a M.Sc. in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London. She currently works for the NGO, CARE Germany-Luxemburg, as a Coordinator for Food and Nutrition Security and serves as CARE International Global Policy Lead in Nutrition.

The BCFN Foundation, founded in 2009, focuses on reducing hunger, fighting food waste, and promoting healthy lifestyles and sustainable agriculture. As a private, nonprofit, and, nonpolitical foundation, BCFN is an institution that evokes the causal relationships of the economy, science, society and the environment have on food. It acts as a knowledge and scientific database that others can use to make daily conscious choices about food and nutrition, health, and sustainability.