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Scottish Research Foundation in Good Shape for Future

19 January 2016

SCOTLAND, UK - Animal research foundation Moredun Foundation is in a strong position with assets of £21m for the financial year 2014/2015, up £0.5m on the previous year, scientific director and chief executive of Moredun Research Institute, Professor Julie Fitzpatrick told the centre’s annual press day. Neil Ryder reports for TheSheepSite.

While Prof Fitzpatrick would have liked a greater increase year on year, she said this remained a highly satisfactory performance.

A major strength was the spread of income with around a third from the Scottish Government; a third from research funding, and a third from commercial activity in the Pentlands Science Park, Bush, Edinburgh, where the Institute is based together with its commercial subsidiary, Moredun Scientific, a major centre for the testing and of vaccines and drugs mainly for European registration.

Funding from Scottish Government worked on a five-year cycle, with the current cycle drawing to a close early next year and work on commissioning for projects over the next five years very much in progress.

This funding brought together the Main Research Providers in Scotland in preparing a Strategic Research Portfolio. This would include bids for a new Centre for Knowledge Exchange and impact.

In addition Moredun had qualified to bid for scientific projects in England, she said increasing concerns about the risks of antimicrobial resistance and the complex interactions between the sue of anti-microbials in both animal and humans has been one of the most important areas of scientific attention over the past year, she said.

She said: “This has been partially stimulated in the veterinary and animal circles by plans for significant reduction in anti-microbial use in food producing species within the EU.

“These pressures will result in many research groups across the world focussing on the mechanism of resistance, transmission of bacteria, and resistance genes among humans, animals, the environment and genetic susceptibility to infections with bacteria. Moredun retains its focus on what should be the course of action to address these issues, accepting that farmers will need to rely less on drugs to control infectious diseases in livestock.

“This will significantly increase the pressure, and hopefully, the funding from national and international bodies to support the development of novel vaccines against disease and modern, reliable and easy to use methods of vaccine delivery.

“Of course vaccines need to be used logically and in conjunction with diagnostic tests; breeding and nutrition programmes; and integrated farm management systems.”

She added that both veterinary surgeons and farmers had important roles to play in deciding when they did need to use anti-microbials and adopting best practice in farm management. One of the key drivers for Moredun research had always been ‘prevention is better than cure’, said Prof Fitzpatrick.

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