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£13M India-UK collaboration in farmed animal health and disease

£13M India-UK collaboration in farmed animal health and disease - 13 November 2013. iStock Thinkstock

Sir Mark Walport, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, has announced major funding to protect livestock, during a visit to India. The research projects aim to tackle major livestock diseases which threaten food security in the UK and globally.

£6.5M has been awarded by the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with matched funding from India's Department of Biotechnology (DBT), for collaborative research projects between universities and research institutes in both countries. It is the first international call on animal health for DBT and covers many important livestock species.

Science Minister David Willetts said: "In the face of a rapidly growing global population, it is vital that we work together to find innovative solutions to animal diseases and global food security. This significant £13M investment is ensuring this important work can take place and supports the Government's wider Agri-Tech strategy. This is helping UK businesses, including farmers, make the best use of new technologies and techniques to meet the needs of consumers and food producers worldwide, as well as contributing to economic growth."

Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive said: "Livestock health is a huge global problem, impacting on the economy and food security. These projects will enable collaboration and shared knowledge in a bid to create novel control measures and technologies to combat infectious diseases that devastate farms in the UK and India."

The projects include: research towards TB control in cattle; understanding the different responses to avian Influenza viruses; studying tick-borne disease; creating biosensors for infectious reproductive diseases of cattle; assisting a global alliance against the goat plague 'Peste des Petits Ruminants'; finding an effective vaccination programme for the eradication of foot-and-mouth disease in India, and understanding why some animals have disease immunity.

The announcement was made as a part of Sir Mark Walport's keynote address during RCUK India's fifth anniversary celebrations in New Delhi this week. These new projects form a part of the £150M strong UK-India research portfolio that RCUK India has facilitated since 2008.

Projects funded through the £13M Farmed Animal Health and Disease fund include:

ENDS

Notes to editors

Funding call page: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/funding/opportunities/2013/farmed-animal-disease-health.aspx

RCUK India: www.rcuk.ac.uk/international/Offices/OfficeinIndia

About BBSRC

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £467M (2012-2013), we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk.
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/institutes.