Bill Gates visits Easter Bush
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 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 Dr Janet Swaddling, CEO SRUC.
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.
Tour of facilities
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. There, scientists are developing genetic technologies that are helping to breed chickens that are less susceptible to diseases, notably those affecting developing countries.
During the visit, Professor Nat Waran, Director of the University's Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education was able to discuss the way in which the Dick Vet works internationally, particularly in developing countries, to highlight the crucial link between improving standards of animal health and welfare in relation to protecting human wellbeing and the important role of veterinarians in understanding and promoting improved standards of animal care along with their involvement in protecting public health. She explained how the Centre achieves this through developing and delivering quality accessible animal welfare education, and promoting an evidence based approach to animal welfare, as well as through influencing policy at the highest level.
Professor David Hume, Director of Roslin, who was involved in the development of the Gates Foundation’s Livestock Strategy, welcomed the opportunity to highlight new technologies that could produce sustainable improvements in livestock health and productivity in developing countries.
Among the scientists to showcase 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.
We were delighted to welcome Mr Gates and his colleagues so that we could demonstrate the quality of research taking place at SRUC and the University. Mr Gates was particularly interested in how new technologies provide a step-change in collecting data to enhance livestock performance.
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 2025, creating one of the world’s most powerful livestock research campuses.