Laura Hanske Joins HDHL Management Board

Laura Hanske Portrait
In 2023, the HDHL Management Board welcomed a new member to its ranks, Laura Hanske, representing Germany on behalf of the Federal Ministry of education and research (BMBF). In an exclusive interview, Dr. Hanske shares insights into her background, the impact of Germany's Food Strategy, and critical research topics in food and nutrition for the future.


Dr. Hanske's interest in health and nutrition began with a desire to understand the relationship between food and well-being. With a doctoral degree in nutritional science, she worked as a nutritional scientist in Germany and the UK. Transitioning to science management, Dr. Hanske now supports researchers in various areas including transfer, missions-oriented research, and sustainability in innovation and research policy. In her current role overseeing Public Health Research at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), she focuses on critical areas such as prevention and nutritional research, which align with HDHL’s objectives.

Food and health in Germany

An example of this alignment is the "Good Food for Germany" nutrition strategy introduced by the Federal Government. This strategy aims to address the nation's dietary challenges by improving institutional catering, reducing food waste, and promoting plant-based diets. With its focus on improving institutional catering, reducing food waste, and promoting plant-based diets, among other initiatives, the strategy aims to make healthy and sustainable food more accessible to all Germans. Dr. Laura Hanske also underscores the strategy's broader implications, emphasizing that "the Food Strategy contributes to achieving the German government's national and international climate, biodiversity, and sustainability goals." She highlights the critical role of up-to-date scientific findings in informing evidence-based nutrition policy, a role in which HDHL plays a pivotal part. By strengthening the linkages between science, policy, and practice, HDHL is well-positioned to enhance the impact of research outcomes and support the effective implementation of the strategy, thus fostering a healthier and more sustainable future for Germany.

Future opportunities

Looking ahead, Dr. Hanske identifies pivotal research topics shaping the future of nutrition. "Important basis to improve nutrition are scientifically based nutritional recommendations and health-promoting, and sustainable food environments. New approaches to nutritional behaviour research are required in order to promote healthy and sustainable dietary patterns," she emphasises. She underscores the significance of delving into physiological aspects of nutrition as well, including the interplay between diet and the human gut microbiome, for a comprehensive understanding of health outcomes.

Furthermore, Dr. Hanske highlights the interconnectedness of diet, health, and environmental sustainability. "How and what we eat not only affects our health and well-being but also affects our livelihoods: the environment and climate, animals, and biodiversity," she explains. This rightly underscores the pivotal role of nutrition in fostering individual health and global sustainability.

With the right diet, each of us can not only make our own lives better but also that of those around us.
Laura Hanske

Alignment at national level

Navigating the complexities of collaboration within HDHL is paramount for driving impactful outcomes. Dr. Hanske emphasises the importance of constant communication and coordination among ministries, implementing authorities, and stakeholders. “Ministries and project management agencies are constantly in close contact to coordinate the German contribution to HDHL. We are also continuously exchanging views with our stakeholders and scientists,” she explains.