Moredun Scientists awarded new grants to help improve the health and welfare of livestock

Scientists at the Moredun Research Institute are involved in three out of the eight new grants recently awarded through the BBSRC’s Animal Health Research Club (ARC) initiative.

The ARC initiative aims to understand and combat endemic disease in farmed cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry and fish, and is a consortium between the BBSRC, the Scottish Government and leading companies from the animal health, breeding and farming sectors to encourage research approaches that are relevant to industry needs.

The Moredun projects are focusing on resistance to cryptosporidiosis in cattle; diversity in immune responses to a worm vaccine in sheep; and improving our understanding of inflammatory responses in sheep footrot. The three projects are being conducted in collaboration with the Roslin Institute, Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, The University of Glasgow and the University of Nottingham. These endemic diseases are of significant economic and welfare concern to the livestock industry.

Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Scientific Director Moredun Research Institute, said:

We are delighted to have been awarded research funding through this initiative to help tackle some very serious diseases that significantly impact on the efficiency of livestock production. Moredun’s approach has always been to work in collaboration with the livestock industry to ensure that our outputs are relevant to the needs of farmers.”

Over £6M of funding was awarded to eight different projects across the UK, with £5.8M from the BBSRC and £800 000 from the Scottish Government.

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, Richard Lochhead, said:

Scotland is the home to world-leading scientific research into livestock health and diseases. The impact of diseases can be crippling to the livestock sector, and costs industry millions of pounds every year. It is particularly important that research is carried out that has direct relevance to and the involvement of industry, and the Scottish Government are happy to have funded such research through supporting the Animal Health Research Club.”

Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Executive Director, Innovation and Skills, said:

By targeting these livestock diseases the Animal Health Research Club projects have the potential to protect farmed animals and food supplies and save UK farmers and the wider economy millions of pounds a year.”

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