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UK-China-Philippines-Thailand Swine and Poultry Research Initiative

Copyright: Joel James/Thinkstock
Newton Fund

Call status: Closed
Previous call: 17 May 2017 - 13 July 2017


The UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), in collaboration with the following overseas partners:

  • National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)
  • The Philippine Agriculture and Fisheries Biotechnology Programme, Department of Agriculture (DA Biotech Programme)
  • The Philippine Bureau of Agricultural Research, Department of Agriculture (DA BAR)
  • Thailand National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA).

are pleased to announce a call for collaborative proposals to address research challenges in swine and poultry. The purpose of this call is to build on the combined strengths of academic research groups within China, the Philippines, Thailand and the UK to work collaboratively on research that will underpin the development of novel strategies to diagnose, prevent, manage or treat microbiological diseases of swine and poultry, to promote safe, healthy, resilient and sustainable food production systems in China and/or South East Asia and reduce the potential incidence of zoonotic disease.


Applicants are invited to submit bilateral or multilateral collaborative research proposals comprising eligible researchers from the UK, China, Thailand and the Philippines. All proposals will be required to have a UK Principal Investigator, in addition to a Principal Investigator from one or more of the partner countries.

The funders aim to support innovative fundamental, strategic or applied research that will contribute to and underpin development of novel strategies to diagnose, prevent, manage or treat endemic, exotic, zoonotic and emerging microbiological diseases of swine and poultry, to promote safe, healthy, resilient and sustainable food production systems and reduce the potential incidence of zoonotic disease.

Proposals of three years in duration are encouraged to address one or more of the following four broad challenges in swine and poultry research:

Host pathogen interactions

  1. Understanding the pathogen in the context of disease pathogenesis in swine and poultry
  2. Understanding the genetic basis of host resistance in swine and poultry
  3. Understanding the pathogen’s interaction with swine and poultry based food
  4. The role of the microbiome and nutrition in controlling pathogens and maintaining health.


  1. Understanding the survival of pathogens, on farm and in the food chain
  2. The molecular mechanisms determining pathogenicity
  3. Research on the evolution of the pathogen in the context of the swine or poultry host or agricultural/food system
  4. Transmission mechanisms between host species including transmission dynamics and biological factors affecting transmission.


  1. The biological effects of swine and poultry management and welfare on disease epidemiology (prevalence, pathogenicity and transmission), including mathematical modelling.

Disease management and control

  1. Diagnostics for pathogens, especially rapid on farm, or food associated diagnostics; and other biological tools and technologies
  2. Novel alternatives for pathogen control, including immune stimulation
  3. Novel agents for pathogen control, including anti-microbials, therapeutics and vaccines, in host and within the food chain.

Research can focus on animal only pathogens, zoonotic pathogens or “commensals” associated with food safety issues. Research focused on human-only pathogens where the swine or poultry is a vector, or using relevant pathogens as a model species for basic microbiological research is not in the scope of the call.

To be within the remit of this call, research must be relevant to swine and poultry systems in China and/or South East Asia. However, equivalent research effort on UK systems may also be included for comparative purposes.

The funders would like to encourage researchers to work in consultation or partnership with the farming, breeding and food industries, where appropriate.

The participating funders wish to develop and strengthen transnational collaborations, build capacity across the partner countries and to support collaborations which will have a real impact in this field. Applicants must successfully demonstrate the potential sustainability of the collaboration and the potential impact of the activities proposed within and beyond the lifetime of the award.


The funders held a partnering workshop in Bangkok, Thailand from 31 May-2 June 2017. Participation in the workshop is not an eligibility criterion for this call.


  • Up to £6 million from BBSRC has been earmarked for this call with matched funding from partner agencies in China, the Philippines and Thailand. It is anticipated that the funding on the UK side will be divided equally between the three partner countries, depending on the quality of proposals
  • Projects should be three years in duration. UK costs should be consistent with those of a Responsive Mode application and projects are expected to represent an equal partnership. We envisage funding multiple projects with each country under this call.


Eligibility to apply is determined by national funder eligibility rules and the nature of the resources requested must also adhere to national funder guidelines. While some eligibility rules are provided in the country annexes of the ‘Guidelines for applicants’ document, please ensure partners discuss their eligibility with their national funder prior to submission.

For UK academics, standard BBSRC eligibility criteria apply.

How to apply

This call is closed to applications.

Any collaboration intending to submit a full application must submit a Letter of Intent (up to one page A4) by email to by 22 June 2017, 16.00.

This should be completed by the UK Principal Investigator using the Letter of Intent template, providing the names and institutions of all project partners, relevant funding agency, and a brief summary of the proposed research area. The purpose of the Letter of Intent is to provide the funders with an estimate of demand. The Letter of Intent will not form part of the assessment process.

Full applications must then be submitted by the UK Principal Investigator to BBSRC via the Je-S application system by 13 July 2017, 16:00.

Assessment criteria

To be funded, proposals must be internationally competitive and at a standard equivalent to that normally expected to be supported by each funding organisation.

Key assessment criteria for the applications include:

  • scientific excellence: novelty, importance, feasibility and timeliness of the proposed research
  • significance and impact of the research on the food system in China and/or SE Asia
  • appropriateness and added value of the joint research partnership (including strength and clarity of the collaboration)
  • appropriateness of the project structure proposed (including governance, arrangements for data management and sharing and management of intellectual property)
  • potential for the collaboration to build capacity in partner countries
  • value for money.

The Newton Fund

Our involvement in this call is funded by the Newton Fund programme. The Newton Fund is an initiative intended to strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the UK and emerging knowledge economies. It was launched by the UK Chancellor in April 2014, and now has a total UK investment of £735 million over the course of seven years to 2021, with partner countries providing matched resources within the fund.

The Fund forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment which is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). ODA funded activity focuses on outcomes that promote the long-term sustainable growth of countries on the OECD Development Assistance Committee list. Newton Fund countries represent a sub-set of this list.

More information about the Newton Fund can be found on the Newton Fund website (see external links) or in the UK government’s Newton Fund policy paper.


Xu Jin, NSFC enquiries, China


Zeying (Maggie) Hu, other enquiries about collaboration with China


Cynthia de Guia or Ian Jomari Panaga, DA-BAR enquiries, the Philippines


Joy Jumalon, DA Biotech Programme enquiries, the Philippines


Karen Hipol, other enquiries about collaboration with the Philippines

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