Moredun Awarded Record EU Grant For Animal Health Research

Moredun Research Institute in Edinburgh has received the largest grant ever to be awarded by the EU in the field of animal health. Over 9 million Euro have been secured by a Moredun-led “Paravac” consortium, in order to develop vaccines for important worm parasites which infect livestock.

The announcement was made by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead on 22 June at a reception at the Scottish Parliament.
Nematode parasites pose the greatest current threat to global agricultural productivity. These parasites can cause debilitating gut, lung or liver disorders which impacts negatively on animal health and welfare, therefore impairing global food security. Control of parasitic worms currently relies almost exclusively on the use of drugs, a solution threatened by the global emergence of worm populations that are resistant to the drugs used to control them. An alternative, greener and more sustainable approach is to control these infestations by vaccination, and one of the specific aims of this grant will be to develop at least one prototype vaccine to the point of uptake by the commercial sector or through government/philanthropic agencies.
The 9 million Euro grant, from the European Union’s Framework 7 research funding call, will fund a series of projects from over 20 academic partners across the globe over the next 3 years. Three commercial partners (including Pfizer Animal Health) are also involved in this initiative with the role of developing candidate vaccines discovered by the academic partners into commercial products.
Originally formed by farmers, Moredun is celebrating its 90th Anniversary in 2010. Still governed by farmers today, Moredun is internationally known for its work on the infectious diseases of livestock. Over the last 50 years Moredun has attracted and maintained some of the best internationally renowned scientists in the field of parasitology and has developed strong collaborations with research partners across Scotland, the UK, the EU and beyond. The award of this EU Framework 7 funding is a reflection of Moredun’s international reputation for excellence in livestock science. Not only does it show that the Institute’s ability to leverage external funding, but it highlights the excellent leadership capabilities of Moredun’s scientists such as Professor David Knox - who has been appointed overall co-ordinator of the 9 million Euro project.
Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, commented ‘Scotland has an enviable reputation as a world leader in the field of animal health research. This major award from Europe is further evidence of the esteem and regard in which the Moredun and its scientists are held on the global stage. The work promises to improve further the efficiency of livestock production and to deliver benefits to farmers in Scotland and the rest of the world.’

Published on 23 June 2010 in Sustainability and Communities , Climate, water and energy , Ecosystems and biodiversity , Food, health and wellbeing