The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has announced the first round of funding for research into improving farmed animal health.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s (BBSRC) Animal Health Research Club (ARC) has awarded £4m for research to improve the health of the UK’s farmed animals.

ARC funds research to improve understanding of resistance in farmed animals to pests and disease, and the funded projects include work to combat costly livestock diseases, create safer vaccines, breed healthier livestock and investigate immune system interactions.

The funded projects will take place during the next three years at BBSRC strategically-funded institutions, the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh and The Pirbright Institute as well as the University of Glasgow, University of Nottingham, University of Warwick, RVC, Scotland’s Rural College and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

The grants represent the first round of awards in a five-year partnership between BBSRC, The Scottish Government and a consortium of leading companies from the animal breeding, animal health and farming sectors including Aviagen, BPEX, Centre for Dairy Information, Cobb, DairyCo, EBLEX, Genus, Merial, Moredun Scientific, MSD Animal Health, the Scottish Salmon Producer’s Organisation and Zoetis.

The ARC industry members pay a subscription fee, which allows them to be involved in remit formation and grant decision making.

Celia Caulcott, BBSRC director, innovation and skills, said: “Livestock diseases cost UK farmers and the wider economy millions of pounds a year, pose welfare problems for farmed animals and negatively affect food security.

“By funding studies that take a broad look at some of the most prevalent and costly livestock diseases ARC will be able to deliver results to benefit farmers, animals and consumers.”

The announced projects represent the first of two rounds of funding from ARC, which will award £9.5m in total. The second call for funding through ARC will open on October 18 and close on December 11 (2013).

A workshop to promote the second call for applications, including the chance to discuss potential applications in confidential surgery sessions, will be held on October 31 (2013) in London.

For more information about ARC visit

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