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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


12 Principles for Public-Private Partnerships in Nutrition and Health

By Michael McBurney

Much is written, spoken, and tweeted about public-private partnerships. Experts from academics, government, non-government organizations, and industry published 12 principles for building partnerships to benefit food safety, nutrition and health research in Nutrition Reviews.

The 12 principles are:

1. Have a clearly defined and achievable goal to improve the health of the public

2. Articulate a clear statement of work, rules, and partner roles, responsibilities, and accountability, to build in trust, transparency, and mutual respect as core operating principles – acknowledging there may be “deal breakers” precluding the formation of an effective partnership in the first place

3. Ensure that objectives will meet stakeholder partners' needs, with a clearly defined baseline to monitor progress and measure success

4. Considering the importance of balance, ensure that all members possess appropriate levels of bargaining power

5. Minimize conflict of interest by recruiting a sufficient number of partners to mitigate influence by any single member and to broaden private-sector perspectives and expertise

6. Engage partners who agree upon specific and fundable research question(s) to be addressed by the partnership

7. Enlist partners who are committed to the long-term goals as well as to the sharing of funding and research data

8. Along with government and the private sector, include academics and other members of civil society as partners

9. Select objective scientific measurements capable of providing common ground for both public- and private-sector research goals

10. Adopt research questions and methodologies established by partners with no vested financial interest in them, ideally in the precompetitive space

11. Be flexible and ensure ongoing transparent communications

12. Consider a third-party convener to ensure equality at the table, clarify rules, establish operational guidelines, and specify funding arrangements.

As our CEO and Chairman of the Managing Board of DSM, Feike Sijbesma, said June 2012 at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, “”Leading companies and countries must partner together on the sustainability agenda; we can’t wait any longer for laggards. The problems of the world are too big and too complicated to be solved by any government, by any company, by any science group or NGO. We need to work together in public private partnerships to addresss the issues of the world.”

DSM and its philanthropic arm, Sight and Life, are pleased to help achieve United Nations Millenium Development Goals through partnerships such as the global Nutrition for Growth Compact initiated by the governments of the United Kingdom, Brazil and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, World Vision, the Ministry of Health Care of the Republic of Tatarstan, reaching Kenyan children with GAIN and Future Fortified, the UN World Food Programme, Vitamin Angels, Mercy Corps, and many more.

Main citation

Rowe S, Alexander N, Kretser A, Steele R, Kretsch M, Applebaum R, Clydesdale F, Cummins D, Hentges E, Navia J, Jarvis A, Falci K. Principles for building public-private partnerships to benefit food safety, nutrition, and health research. 2013 Nutr Rev doi:10.1111/nure.12072