Animal disease centre wins share of £35m funding
EPIC team secures tranche of five-year Scottish Government support for research into animal disease outbreaks.
A centre of expertise on animal disease, involving scientists from the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems, has won support from the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Government Centre for Animal Disease Outbreaks, EPIC, is awarded a share of more than £35 million secured for four Scottish centres delivering scientific support, research and advice on key issues affecting the climate, water, animal disease outbreaks and rural communities.
A five-year investment package will benefit EPIC as well as climate research centre ClimateXChange (CXC), the Centre of Expertise for waters (CREW), and SEFARI Gateway, which leads on knowledge exchange and innovation.
The investment, announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, is aimed at strengthening existing partnerships, helping to safeguard against a range of issues that affect the rural economy, environment and the communities that depend on it.
Funded by the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS), the Centres seek to provide an efficient, accessible, coordinated route for government to access scientific expertise.
They draw upon the wide-ranging expertise available from Scottish universities, colleges, research organisations across Scotland, and also their wider UK and international networks.
Each centre is funded as part of the wider Scottish Government Portfolio, one of the largest for agri-environment research in the UK, representing investment of around £250 million over five years in strategic research, supporting expert advice and national research resources through partnerships across Scotland.
EPIC is a consortium of six Scottish research institutions, including scientists from the Global Academy and the Roslin Institute working to improve livestock health by advising the Scottish Government on the surveillance and control of animal diseases.
EPIC researchers are currently advising on the ongoing avian influenza outbreaks in the UK and working to address the threat to Scotland of African Swine Fever as this disease spreads into Western Europe.
This support will enable EPIC’s vital work in understanding, modelling and mitigating animal disease outbreaks, and in communicating this to decision-makers.
The Scottish Government provides significant funding to our major research institutes to explore issues such as plant and animal health, and food security. In total, we are investing £250 million over the next five years … which will support more than 150 projects … of central concern to the agriculture sector.