In order to tackle the increasing problem of malnutrition (i.e. protein‐energy malnutrition) in the older population, the Joint Action Malnutrition in the Elderly (MaNuEL) Knowledge Hub has been recently launched as part of the Strategic Research Agenda of the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (HDHL). This paper introduces this new European initiative and describes its objectives and design. The MaNuEL consortium consists of 22 research groups from seven countries (Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, The Netherlands and New Zealand). The Consortium aims to extend scientific knowledge; strengthen evidence‐based practice in the management of malnutrition in older persons; build a sustainable, transnational, competent network of malnutrition experts; and harmonise research and clinical practice. MaNuEL is built on five interconnected work packages that focus on (i) defining treatable malnutrition; (ii) screening of malnutrition in different settings; (iii) determinants of malnutrition; (iv) prevention and treatment of malnutrition; and (v) policies and education regarding malnutrition screening and treatment in older persons across Europe. Systematic literature reviews will be performed to assess current research on malnutrition and identify potential knowledge gaps. Secondary data analyses of nutritional intervention trials and observational studies will also be conducted. Using Web‐based questionnaires, MaNuEL will provide insight into current clinical practice, policies and health professionals’ education on malnutrition and will make recommendations for improvement. MaNuEL is being advised by a stakeholder board of five experts in geriatric nutrition who represent relevant European professional societies.