A new scientific secretariat for the International Research Consortium (IRC) on Animal Health is up and running as a result of Horizon 2020 funding.
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), which co-ordinates global animal health research.
The secretariat will be run by a consortium including the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), CAB International, 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, or aspects related to animal health and welfare such as antimicrobial resistance. The new secretariat will aim to improve the control of animal diseases through the alignment of both public and private-funded animal health research.
Based at OIE Headquarters in Paris, France, the IRC will provide reviews and gap analyses to working groups, whilst supporting the scientific and executive committees. It will also facilitate information exchange among the different partners of the consortium.
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 and diagnostics companies.
Together, they have committed a total budget in the region of €2bn to invest over a five-year period to 2021.
International organisations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have also signed up and the consortium is expected to expand further in the coming weeks and months.
These partners have agreed to co-ordinate their research programmes to address agreed research needs, share results and seek animal health strategies for 30 priority diseases, infections or issues.
The first meeting of the IRC Executive Committee and Scientific Committee was held at the International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya on 31 January – 1 February.