21 December 2016 – Funding for a Scientific Secretariat for the International Research Consortium (IRC) on Animal Health has been approved by the Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The IRC builds on the success of the EU-funded STAR-IDAZ Project (Global Strategic Alliances for the Coordination of Research on the Major Infectious Diseases of Animals and Zoonoses), an exciting initiative to coordinate animal health research globally. The Secretariat aims to deliver measurable advances in the control of animal diseases through the alignment of both public and privately funded animal health research around the world.

The Secretariat will be run by a partnership of organisations including Defra (UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), CABI, BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council), and IFAH-Europe (International Federation of Animal Health – Europe). The IRC will focus on particular diseases such as foot and mouth disease and brucellosis, and aspects related to animal health and welfare such as antimicrobial resistance. The Scientific Secretariat, hosted at OIE Headquarters in Paris, will provide literature reviews and gap analyses to thematic working groups, and support the Scientific Committee and Executive Committee logistically. It will facilitate information exchange within the different partners of the consortium. The Secretariat will also play an important role in advocacy for the consortium and link with new members.

STAR-IDAZ IRC includes research funders and programme owners from Europe, Asia, Australasia, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East as well as international organisations and the representation of veterinary pharmaceutical companies. Together, they have committed a total budget in the region of EUR 2 billion to invest over a five-year period to 2021. Sixteen organisations from twelve countries have signed so far and the consortium is likely to enlarge in the coming weeks and months. These partners have agreed to coordinate their research programmes to address agreed research needs, share results and together seek for new and improved animal health strategies for at least 30 priority diseases, infections or issues. These include candidate vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics and other animal health products, procedures and/or key scientific information and tools to support risk analysis and disease control.

CABI’s CEO, Dr Trevor Nicholls, says, “Diseases which can transfer from animals to humans are a major threat to global public health. CABI welcomes this exciting new partnership of organisations, each with strong interests in research, animal health, and science communication. The establishment of this secretariat will help the consortium achieve its goals through coordinated research and implementation.”

For all our latest news, click here.