Bill Gates has visited the Easter Bush Campus to hear about research to improve the health and welfare of people and farm animals worldwide. The facilities and research he saw receive funding from BBSRC.
The renowned businessman and philanthropist was visiting in his capacity as Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The organisation has a strategic focus on agricultural development and research to improve farming productivity in a sustainable way.
Mr Gates was greeted by Vice-Principal Professor Jonathan Seckl, Professor David Hume, Director of The Roslin Institute, Professor David Argyle, Head of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Lord Jamie Lindsay, Chairman of Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) and Janet Swaddling, CEO SRUC.
The party toured The Roslin Institute before visiting SRUC's beef research facility on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The party also visited the new National Avian Research Facility at The Roslin Institute, which receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. There, scientists are developing genetic technologies that are helping to breed chickens that are less susceptible to diseases, notably those affecting developing countries.
Among the scientists to highlight their work were Professors Ivan Morrison and Liam Morrison of The Roslin Institute. Both are funded by the Gates Foundation to investigate new treatments for deadly trypanosome parasites that affect people and farm animals in sub-Saharan Africa.
SRUC's Dr Dave Roberts and Dr Mizeck Chagunda also spoke about their work with dairy farmers in Malawi. It focuses on the use of performance recording to increase herd productivity.
The Easter Bush Campus already has the largest concentration of livestock science-related expertise in Europe. It is part way through a major development programme that will bring further commercial partners and academic activities by 2020, creating one of the world's most powerful livestock research campuses.
Professor Jonathan Seckl, Vice-Principal Planning, Resources and Research Policy, said: "It has been a great pleasure to welcome Bill Gates to the Easter Bush Campus and showcase our work as world leaders in the field of animal bioscience.