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Diet and Activity Research Translation (DART) Collaboration

physician running tests on patient on treadmill


The NIHR Diet and Activity Research Translation (DART) Collaboration aims to deliver a step change in the quality and quantity of research conducted in health-related behaviours, diet and nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviour,  weight management and obesity. 

The DART collaboration seeks to develop strategic approaches to the grand challenges in unmet research needs. Our mission is to create a collective voice within the academic and clinical community for health behaviour research which is translatable, implementable, and maximises the impact of research.

Work with us

The NIHR’s translational research infrastructure is at the core of the DART Collaboration, providing significant expertise and established capabilities in diet and nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviour, weight management and obesity science.

With our established network of experts, clinicians and specialist researchers in health behaviours research, and with access to state-of-the-art techniques and facilities, our Collaboration offers unique opportunities to engage in priority research areas.

"Diet, nutrition, and physical inactivity underpin all the major chronic long-term conditions challenging the NHS. By pooling our collective expertise and through stronger cross-sector and cross-disciplinary partnerships we can tackle the major nutrition and activity research challenges facing our society".
Professor Melanie Davies, University of Leicester and Chair of the DART Collaboration

We are open to collaborating with academics, healthcare professionals, charities, industry, community and professional stakeholders, to design and carry out experimental investigations to identify ways that will prevent, manage and reverse risk factors associated with health behaviour-related disease. 

If you have a research idea or intervention you would like to discuss and/or test, contact us.

Our expertise

We focus on health behaviours that underpin the major long-term conditions that challenge individuals, our population and health systems, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

The DART Collaboration includes NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) that have research groups that undertake interventional and observational research across the life course.  We collaborate with leading researchers, clinicians and academics outside this network and bring together a partnership that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Together with other partners in the life sciences industry, charity sector and other stakeholders, we aim to deliver high quality, strategic, collaborative research proposals, research tools/resources, and capacity development training.

Our workstreams

Our work focuses on key research areas prioritised through public and stakeholder engagement:

  • Obesity and weight management

  • Health behaviour-pharmacotherapy and -immunology interactions

  • Diet, physical activity and anthropometric assessment tools

  • Health behaviour assessment and behavioural change.

The DART Nutrition Professionals Network

The DART Nutrition Professionals Network is a nation-wide body of nutrition specialist professionals working within NIHR BRCs.

This network aims to:

  • Establish a community of research dietitians and nutrition specialist professionals

  • Foster knowledge exchange and skills sharing

  • Promote the role of dietitians and nutrition specialists in research

  • Build research capacity 

  • Support opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students

  • Promote nutrition-related scholarships in research and teaching

  • Engage with dietitians outside the network to promote research

  • Encourage academic and professional development.

To find out more about the DART Collaboration and how to work with us please contact us.

Who we are

The DART Collaboration is chaired by Professor Melanie Davies from the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, and connects world-leading research expertise and infrastructure for health behaviour research. 

We work nationally and internationally with external collaborators, stakeholders, the public, patients and industry.  

Our academic leads span priority research areas of physical activity and nutrition, weight management and obesity, and include experts across the life course and ageing. 

This map shows the research centres that are part of this Collaboration (listed below)


Our academic centres and leads

For more information about the DART Collaboration and how we can work together please contact us.