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Swine and Poultry Research Initiative to address microbiological diseases

11 projects are to be funded by BBSRC through the Newton Fund's UK-China-Philippines-Thailand Swine and Poultry Research Initiative to address microbiological diseases.

Asia accounts for more than one-third of the world’s chicken meat production and is the leading pork producing region in the world. Diseases of livestock; such as foot and mouth, avian influenza and campylobacter result in huge economic losses.  To reduce the economic and human health impact of these diseases, and to increase food security, research is required to develop rapid diagnostics, novel therapeutics and vaccines.

11 collaborative projects are being funded, involving leading UK bioscience researchers and teams in China, the Philippines and Thailand. Host pathogen interactions, microbiology, epidemiology, and disease management and control, are issues that will be addressed as part of the research.

The Swine and Poultry Research Initiative brings together multiple countries to tackle core challenges for food security across regions. A total of £7 million has been awarded by BBSRC to support UK research organisations. Research in partner countries has been funded by:

  • National Natural Science Foundation of China
  • The Philippine Agriculture and Fisheries Biotechnology Programme, Department of Agriculture
  • The Philippine Bureau of Agricultural Research, Department of Agriculture
  • Thailand National Science and Technology Development Agency

BBSRC Deputy Chief Executive, Steve Visscher, said: “With poultry and pig meat leading the global increase in meat production, the importance of finding innovative solutions which will underpin sustainable, safe, healthy and resilient poultry and pig production systems is critical. By bringing together world class researchers from China, the Philippines, Thailand and the UK BBSRC is addressing this challenge.”

The 11 projects that have been funded are:

  1. Understanding antigenic diversity, zoonotic potential and immunological prevention of avian influenza viruses affecting poultry; UK-China.
    Professor Munir Iqbal, The Pirbright Institute - £497,995
  2. Low-cost Portable Molecular Diagnostic Platform for Rapid Detection of Poultry Infectious Pathogens (LMDP); UK-Philippines.
    Professor Wamadeva Balachandran, Brunel University London - £614,582
  3. Broadly protective vaccines for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome and swine influenza virus infections; UK-Thailand.
    Dr Elma Tchilian, The Pirbright Institute - £ 499,985
  4. China/UK/Thailand Program on Poultry Biosafety for Salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter (CUT-SEC); UK-China-Thailand.
    Professor Timothy Walsh, Cardiff University - £1,527,899
  5. Development of live attenuated vaccine candidates for Newcastle Disease Virus; UK-Thailand.
    Professor Steven Goodbourn, St George's University of London - £390,078
  6. The development of a phage food additive with the aim to control Salmonella in swine and poultry; UK-Thailand.
    Professor Martha Clokie, University of Leicester - £527,607
  7. UK-China partnership on Global Food Security: Combating avian tumour diseases for sustainable poultry production; UK-China.
    Dr Yongxiu Yao, The Pirbright Institute - £382,637
  8. Using genomics to trace Salmonella transmission and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the poultry and swine food chains in the Philippines; UK-Philippines.
    Professor Taane Clark, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine - £444,708
  9. Discovery and characterization of swine host factors required to support swine influenza virus replication; UK-China.
    Professor Wendy Barclay, Imperial College London - £407,011
  10. Rapid diagnostics and control strategies for enteric bacterial pathogens in backyard and commercial poultry production in Thailand and the Philippines; UK-Thailand-Philippines.
    Professor Paul Wigley, University of Liverpool - £733, 412
  11. A strategic approach to identifying and combating porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus outbreaks and other porcine viral diseases; UK-Philippines.
    Dr Christine Tait-Burkard, The University of Edinburgh - £774,246


Note to editors

For further information on this research programme, please visit the Newton Fund UK-China-Philippines-Thailand Swine and Poultry Research Initiative call for research proposals funding page.

Information on Partner country funders can be found at:

About the Newton Fund

  • The Newton Fund builds research and innovation partnerships with 18 partner countries to support their economic development and social welfare, and to develop their research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth. It has a total UK government investment of £735 million up until 2021, with matched resources from the partner countries.
  • The Newton Fund is managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and delivered through 15 UK delivery partners, which include the research councils, the UK academies, the British Council, Innovate UK and the Met Office.
  • Follow via Twitter: @NewtonFund


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