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Hokkaido Information University (HIU) is on the cutting edge of teaching with ICT and three research fields such as “Education, Knowledge and Information ”; “Food, Health and Information” ; and “Space, Environment and Information.”
Food,Health and Information
A community-based health conscious program specified in food,
health and information by the system “Clinical Trial for Functional Food”
and promotion of human resources for food science and business
In Japan, especially in Hokkaido, we have traditionally produced healthy foods with functional ingredients, which prevent obesity, diabetes and other life-style related diseases. To evaluate functionality of food ingredients on a scientific basis, a clinical intervention as for human volunteers (participants) is an essential step. However, it has not been so easy to carry out human clinical trial due to high cost. Thus, only limited food companies can afford to perform them. On the other hand, consumers’ interest and awareness in the food safety and efficacy has been increasing. In this context, introduction of an evaluation system for food safety and efficacy has been highly expected, with high-quality and low-cost.
Flourish science-based business through
the industry-academia-government frame
In 2008, “The model of Clinical Trial for Functional Food” was constructed in Hokkaido Information University (HIU). With cooperative work with Ebetsu City and the Hokkaido Food Processing Research Center, we kicked off a unique system to carry out human clinical trials which proved food safety and functionality with low-cost. This system has contributed to medium- and small-sized food companies to obtain clinical evidence of human. Based on this project, Ebetsu City has become known as an area specialized in analysis of functional foods.
* “The model of Clinical Trial for Functional Food” was originally established in alliance with “Sapporo Bio-S”, the Innovation Project supported by The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Ebetsu City was chosen for this project because this area was prosperous in dairy farming and agriculture, and also active in academic activities in alliance with four universities located in this city. The Hokkaido Food Processing Research Center is well known as a leading institute of food processing technology.
The system which produces benefits for the
local people and business arena
Our system of Clinical Trial for Functional Food is supported by local volunteers. We provide them sufficient explanation of clinical trials including medical checks, prior to intervention. The clinical trial is conducted under the supervision of responsible doctors. Clients (enterprises and research institutes) can obtain clinical data with statistical analysis from Health Informatics Research Center (HIRC). As for participants, they retrieve their own data from the data base of HIRC using their unique accounts and pass words. Therefore our system shall bring the benefits to both clients and participants. In information management, HIU, specialized in information communication technology (ICT), can store and manage personal information of clinical intervention. In this context, we can cover all the process of clinical trials of foods altogether.
Promotion local business through enhancement of
Our mission to develop the above mentioned system is believed to be a development of human resources. There are many companies and factories related food industry in Hokkaido. Food business is an important market position in Japan because it involves a wide variety of business activities, such as production, development, logistics, distribution and sales. However, personals specialized in food business, research and market are limited. To overcome this issue, HIU has been expected to provide human resources to food, health and medical industries.
Exploration of employment chances
Regional activities is vivid in agriculture, dairy-farming, marine products, food makers, frozen food makers, etc. According to national statistics, the whole amount of food is far more than other areas in Japan, but the total delivery amount of processed foods is under the national average because of shortage of food processing industry. Once we introduce food processing industry in Hokkaido, it is highly expected Hokkaido would be a food-science based community which attract our employees.
Studying “Food Science and Health Literacy”
gives us a big chance to challenge the bright future
Jun Nishihira, MD
In Hokkaido, there are many companies related food production and processing, which give us a number of job opportunities in food business. At present, however, there are limited number of academic institutes to learn health, nutrition and food altogether. To expand business on functional foods, companies need personals who are good at food science and health literacy. HIU has introduced a unique system to learn both science and literacy to meet food industry’s needs. The door is wide open to students who want to study high quality research on food and health as well as information.