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The Roslin Institute

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The Roslin Institute receives strategic funding from BBSRC and incorporated with the University of Edinburgh's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, which was the number one ranked veterinary school in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.


Roslin undertakes research within the framework of BBSRC Institute Strategic Programmes that are focused on the health and welfare of animals, and the application of basic animal sciences in human and veterinary medicine, the livestock industry and food security.

The Roslin Institute's mission is to gain fundamental understanding of the genetic, cellular, organ and systems bioscience that underpin common mechanisms of animal development and pathology; knowledge that is then used in the prevention and treatment of important veterinary diseases and to develop sustainable farm animal production systems. This mission drives the Institute's research programmes, which are in turn united by the following objectives:

Animal welfare, breeding and genetics are well studies at Roslin. Image: Roslin
Animal welfare, breeding and genetics are well studied at Roslin. Copyright: Roslin
  • Gain fundamental knowledge of vertebrates as biological systems, through the study of animal models including major livestock species and the integration of genomic information into a predictive biology
  • Improve animal health and welfare through knowledge of genetic factors affecting susceptibility and resistance to disease, and by studying the mechanisms and behaviours associated with optimising their environment and life experiences
  • Improve sustainability of livestock production systems and food supply chains through an understanding of the genetic, biological, economic, environmental and social factors that constrain productivity
  • Translate discoveries into livestock veterinary clinical practice, and translate livestock veterinary clinical observations and opportunities into basic science discoveries
  • Improve food safety based upon understanding interactions between disease causing organisms and animals and identify new and emerging zoonoses and improve understanding of how pathogens might cross from animals to humans, and vice versa

The Roslin Institute aims to enhance the lives of animals and humans through world class research in animal biology. Knowledge exchange and commercialisation (KEC) is a key contributor towards this aim and produces research with applications and impact outside of the research community.

The Roslin Institute's research impacts four market sectors: animal breeding, animal health and welfare (livestock and companion animals), biotechnology and human health. All of these sectors fit into areas of high strategic priority for BBSRC and there are ongoing relationships with over 40 companies covering these above market sectors.

The new Roslin Institute building. Image: Roslin
The new Roslin Institute building. Copyright: Roslin

The Roslin Institute's research is supported by a number of unique resources, including the ARK-Genomics Centre for Comparative and Functional Genomics which utilises the latest genomics technologies for research into genome structure, genetic variation, gene expression and function with a focus on systems of relevance to animal health and food security. Similarly, the avian research facility, a national resource centre for experimental science of poultry and model avian species (including transgenic avian lines), provides specialist resources for avian biology research. In addition, The Roslin institute also holds the UK natural scrapie resource, a Cheviot sheep flock with endemic natural scrapie but which also has cases of atypical scrapie. The flock represents the only controlled TSE (transmissible spongiform encephalopathy) flock worldwide in which the progeny of each sheep is known in detail; research data from this flock was key to the development of the National Scrapie Plan.

In June 2011, The Roslin Institute moved into its new £60.6M state-of-the-art building on the University of Edinburgh's Easter Bush Veterinary Campus. The project was funded in large part by BBSRC and the new premises accommodate around 450 scientists from The Roslin Institute as well as around 50 scientists from Scotland’s Rural University College.