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New vision and high level research strategy for UK Animal and Plant Health Research published

BBSRC has published, on behalf of a partnership of key UK research funders and policy makers, a vision and high level research strategy for UK Animal and Plant Health Research to 2020 and beyond.

In December 2014, Defra and the Government Office for Science jointly published the report Animal and Plant Health in the UK: Building our science capability, which made the compelling case for a more coordinated approach across public funders of animal and plant health research.

The new research vision and high level strategy has been developed, with leadership from BBSRC, as an early action towards delivering that joined up approach. It sets out a high level research strategy for key public research funders working within a new UK Science Partnership for Animal and Plant Health, and with wider research stakeholders.

The partnering organisations consist of Research Councils (BBSRC, Economic and Social Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council), HM Government (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Government Office for Science, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Food Standards Agency, Department for International Development, Public Health England) and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development – Northern Ireland, Scottish Government and Welsh Government.

This research strategy 'A Vision and high-level Strategy for UK Animal and Plant Health Research To 2020 and Beyond' (PDF), which has been developed with input from government, academia, industry and the third sector, is designed to realise the following vision:

  • By 2020, the UK will have created and harnessed new research knowledge and technology that will transform our ability to:
    • systematically predict, detect and understand key current UK animal and plant health problems and emerging threats in real time.
    • direct sophisticated and rapid responses to effectively and efficiently prevent and mitigate impacts on our agri-environment and wider ecosystems and landscapes.

In parallel, it will have created the optimal innovation environment for developing and trialling new interventions, stimulating inward investment and the development of new products and services through small and medium-sized enterprises and large national and multinational companies.

There are compelling economic, social and environmental drivers for a more robust and concerted UK response to animal and plant health challenges, which are of critical importance to protecting and enhancing the UK’s prosperity and wellbeing. An integrated, whole-system approach to animal and plant health science is needed, and the research strategy details key opportunities to develop such an approach.

Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC chief executive, said: “There are urgent challenges posed by animal and plant health problems and new threats to the UK’s agriculture and wider environment, which have major implications for UK society and beyond. This vision and high level research strategy gives the key UK public research funders and policy makers, for the first time, a much needed framework within which to work together in partnership, and with our wider stakeholders, to nurture and direct the UK’s research capabilities to tackle these issues more effectively and efficiently.

“The UK needs innovative and more integrated approaches and solutions – this document sets out the ambition to grasp the exciting opportunities across a wide range of disciplines to develop ‘next generation’ knowledge and toolkits and put them into practice. In developing this research strategy the partners have sought to draw on a wide range of expertise and views, and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed so helpfully and positively.”

The UK Science Partnership for Animal and Plant Health will work to develop a detailed action plan and identify early areas for improved collaboration and coordination across the partnership.


Story source: BBSRC news, 13 Jan 2016

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