Each year (2015-2019), the Arla Foods Dairy Health and Nutrition Excellence Center (AFDHNEC) seeks science-based research on identification, isolation and characterization of health associated milk components, including validation, quality and up-scaling of such and not least basic mechanisms of importance for the health benefits of dairy products and ingredients in in-vitro, in-vivo and clinical studies.

The goals of AFDHNEC are to foster new research on:

  • Prevent/Remedy Metabolic Syndrome
  • Prevent/Remedy Malnutrition
  • Enhance Immune Defense/Response

to empower the Vision of Arla Foods:

Creating the future of dairy to bring health and inspiration to the world, naturally...

The Arla Foods Dairy Health and Nutrition Excellence Center (AFDHNEC) encourages collaboration among researchers from University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, their networks and funding agencies in order to bring health to the world by leveraging existing resources and expertise. AFDHNEC funds both project activities in form of newly generated projects and additional activities to ongoing project activities, if these resemble the specific focus areas of the call . In instances when additional support is needed to enhance existing non-AFDHNEC funded projects, the principal investigators with an existing grant, either pending or active, may apply for supplemental support if:

  • The project is exploring milk based bioactives and the characterization of their heath effects
  • The project is evaluating the basic effects of dairy foods or ingredients on health
  • The investigators would like to add additional dairy-related arms/analyses to a conclusive study that was not originally examining dairy foods or ingredients

Evaluation Criteria
Expressions of Interest submitted to the Arla Foods Dairy Health and Nutrition Excellence Center (AFDHNEC) are reviewed in a 3 step evaluation process:

I. Internal review
To begin with all projects will solely be evaluated with regard to fulfilling requested formalities – Secretariat responsibility. Thus all projects falling outside the strategic areas and not including demanded fields asked for in the pre-evaluation will initially be excluded.

II. External peer-review
Subsequently, all projects fulfilling the formalities will be peer-reviewed by an independent international scientific board of four members to ensure the scientific quality of the project proposals. Subsequently the applications will be forwarded to the steering committee ranked according to the result of the peer-review procedure.

Evaluation criteria include among other:

  • If the hypotheses and objectives are logical
  • If the proposed methods are scientific valid and will adequately test the stated hypoth​eses
  • If the proposed budget and timeline is reasonable for work proposed
  • If the pre-proposal addresses the criteria outlined in the request for pre-proposals as well as meets the current objectives of the AFDHNEC research program.

III. Internal review
Finally, the steering group including members from all four stakeholders of the center will evaluate the application in relation to strategic fit and business relevance. Subsequently, in combination with the scientific rating given by the external reviewers the steering group will take decision upon starting of selected project activities.

In case of a positive evaluation, the applicant is invited to submit a full proposal to the center Director including amendments according to advice from the external peer-review and comments from the steering group.


For general questions related to the Arla Foods Dairy Health and Nutrition Excellence Center Research program, active calls for pre-proposals, or the submission process, applicants and other interested parties are encouraged to email:

AFDHNEC staff at:

Philip Jan Rijken, Head Arla Dairy Health and Nutrition Excellence Center

Arla Foods amba
Roerdrumvej 2
Phone: +45 8746 6630