The Animal Health Research & Technology Club (ARC) is now several months in and things are progressing well. The first competition, for £4.5m out of the total £9.5m, is underway with first stage applications submitted (the closing date was 5th September). The BBSRC will now undertake an evaluation process together with the industrial Club members (of which there are 12) to decide which projects to take forward to the second stage.
In case you haven't seen what the ARC is about, the aims, as stated by BBSRC are to:
1. Support high quality, innovative, strategic research within UK universities and institutes to improve the resistance of farmed animals to pest and disease organisms
2. Strengthen the research community in the areas of disease and pest resistance of farmed animals through interdisciplinary research and the provision of training;
3. Ensure the exchange of knowledge between the science base and industry through effective networking between academic groups and companies involved in ARC.
The Biosciences KTN is coordinating the ARC with BBSRC and we have appointed Professor Andy Tait as the external coordinator for the Club. There is plenty of information about the ARC on the BBSRC website but if you have any questions then let us know. You can contact Andy at Andy.Tait@glasgow.ac.uk or me at Kezia.firstname.lastname@example.org
The four broad themes covered in the first call are:
• Understanding the basis of resistance/resilience to pests and diseases in farmed animal species
• Developing novel tools for defining disease biomarkers and phenotypes to inform breeding strategies for subclinical diseases and increased disease resistance
• Understanding variation in vaccine responsiveness, immuno-competence at different developmental stages and disease outcomes
• Determining the effects of selection for production traits on immune function
These themes were exemplified in the briefing event held in London on the 30th July where a number of Club members presented their research priorities to researchers. In return, the academic delegates were able to pitch their ideas to the Club members and Steering group through a series of surgery sessions. This helped potential applicants get a feel for what projects would be of most interest and relevance to the ARC in an informal setting before the more formal evaluation process, which is now being carried out, got underway.
The second call will be scoped out early next year with a view to launching the competition towards summer 2013. We will continue to post updates on the Club as and when they are available. The ARC will also be organising further briefing events so keep an eye out for notifications of these.
Want to be part of it?
If you are in industry and are interested in the ARC activity you can also still join the Club and become a member.