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Animal health

Background

Food security in the context of this priority covers the sustainable production of sufficient, safe, nutritious and affordable food to supply the world's growing population. The overall BBSRC food security priority aims to encourage research that will enhance UK and/or global food security, by providing knowledge and evidence that will enable food producers and processors, retailers, consumers and governments to respond to and manage the challenges facing the UK food system, and related global issues including those confronting the developing world.

Tackling the food security challenge will require multifaceted and cross-disciplinary approaches. Multidisciplinary approaches are strongly encouraged under this priority, including those that draw on expertise from across the biosciences and, where appropriate (and provided the majority of the work falls within BBSRC's remit), proposals at the interfaces with other Research Councils. These might include collaborations between biologists and physical, environmental, medical or social scientists. Integration of the latest bioscience and modelling techniques is encouraged at all scales from molecules and cells to agricultural systems and landscapes.

Aim

The aim of the animal health priority is to support research aimed at combating infectious diseases - including endemic, exotic and zoonotic - that reduce the health and welfare of animals farmed for food production in the UK (where appropriate in international food security context) and diseases that undermine the sustainability of the livestock, poultry, aquaculture or apiculture industries. Research will inform development of strategies that will lead to the prevention and control of animal diseases.

For this priority, farmed animals include livestock, poultry, fish and bees, and diseases include infestations by "pests", i.e. internal (helminth) or external (arthropod) parasites, as well as infections by viral, bacterial, protozoal or fungal pathogens

This includes food-borne and other infections of zoonotic origin with implications for public health that are carried by farmed animals, but do not necessarily have a significant impact on animal health. Studies of vertebrate or invertebrate wildlife reservoirs or vectors of infection are only included if they focus on the role of wild animals in the transmission to and/or maintenance of disease in the target farmed species, and not on the nature or incidence of disease in the wildlife host per se. Working with other funders, multidisciplinary research underpinning the "One Biology, One Health" concept is encouraged for infectious diseases of zoonotic origin.

Research into infectious diseases can be pursued through the study of the pathogen or its host or of the host's environment, or by addressing combinations of these aspects of the disease system. Proposals are sought for multidisciplinary projects that would exploit advances in laboratory, field-based or in silico approaches to improve understanding, at the cellular, individual animal or population levels, of the host-pathogen interface or its relationship with the host animal's environment. Projects that integrate studies of genetic variation in the host and pathogen, or of host and/or pathogen genetic variation with the epidemiology and population dynamics of disease, are welcomed.

Tackling the food security challenge will require cross-disciplinary approaches which may span a number of the challenges under the broader food security priority. BBSRC would particularly welcome applications that address the food security priority in a broader context and would recommend applicants to read all five strategic priorities in the food security area before applying.

Requirements

Proposals that address the 'One Biology, One Health' concept and involve other funders, must be discussed with BBSRC Office prior to submission.

Diseases of non-farmed animals are excluded from this priority; if you are unclear on definitions of farmed and non-farmed animal please contact the BBSRC Office.

Outputs and impacts

Translational opportunities for the outputs to impact on policy (including implications for human health) of Government departments and agencies such as Defra, DFID, FSA and DH) and/or be taken up by industry (including vaccine development and breeding companies) should be explored as should the potential for international partnerships. Impacts on training and the UK skills base should be considered.

Outputs from an increased understanding of the pathogen, host and host's environment will lead to the generation of knowledge to control endemic, exotic and zoonotic diseases of farmed animals. Impacts will include improvements to the health and welfare of farmed animals, increased economic resilience to livestock diseases and more sustainable food production.

Ethical and other issues

Applicants will need to consider any requirements for animal usage (including power calculations), licences and ethical approval and should refer to the BBSRC grants guide.

Current opportunities and pre-announcements

Previous awards

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