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African Livestock research in focus at Easter Bush Campus

“Livestock for African livelihoods: Science, data & innovation for a healthy future” highlighted innovative research as part of Africa Week 2018 Celebrations

By Vanessa Meadu

Livestock play a central role in the daily lives of people across Africa. In fact it’s seen as a pathway out of poverty by the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates, the UK Department for International Development and many development organisations. But animal diseases and low productivity remain a central challenge, preventing many livestock keepers from fulfilling their potential. 

Participants learned about Edinburgh-based research on African livestock

On 25 October, as part of the University of Edinburgh’s Africa Week celebrations, Edinburgh-based researchers presented their work on African livestock during an interactive poster and networking session. The event, titled “Livestock for African livelihoods: Science, data & innovation for a healthy future” was organised by SEBI – Supporting Evidence-Based Interventions, and hosted at the University’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at Easter Bush.

Collaborative map of African livestock projects
Participants generated a collaborative map of their African livestock projects

More than 30 Edinburgh-based researchers showcased how they are working with African partners to test data-driven approaches and innovations that improve animal health, close productivity gaps, and increase incomes and opportunities for livestock smallholders. The event included poster presentations and a slideshow of images from the field, showing research in action.

In total, over 60 people participated, representing the Vet School, the Roslin Institute, the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Moredun Research Institute, GalvMED, the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH), the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network (IVVN), Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and Abacus Bio.

Networking opportunity

For many, it was a chance to finally meet people working in the same countries or on similar topics. To date, there has been little information on who is doing what on African Livestock in Edinburgh. The event took some concrete steps to resolving this, by asking people to map their research projects. This map will be digitised into a shared resource that will hopefully offer useful insights and be the starting point for practical discussions and collaborations. 

Future directions

SEBI would like to continue to bring together like-minded researchers in Edinburgh – if you are interested in joining similar events or be kept up to date on African livestock research updates and initiatives, please sign up here.

More information

Vanessa Meadu is the Communications and Knowledge Exchange Specialist for SEBI – Supporting Evidence Based Interventions, based at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh.