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Zoonoses and Emerging Livestock Systems (ZELS)

ZELS is a joint research initiative between the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and:

  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC)
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)


In 2012 we awarded research grants with a total funding of £18.5 million, with a further £1.5 million for studentships funding. In all 11 projects are funded:

  • in 11 developing countries
  • involving 19 UK research institutions
  • and more than 30 overseas institutions

For further details see The National Archives: UK commits £20.5M to combat worldwide animal diseases that could spread to humans.


Zoonoses are diseases capable of passing from animals to humans and are estimated to have cost more than $20 billion in direct costs globally between 2000-2010, with a further $200 billion in indirect costs. As well as threatening human and animal health, zoonoses affect livestock production, causing economic and social harm to communities in developed and developing countries.

ZELS projects

Further information

ZELS inauguration event (PDF 217KB)

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ZELS grant holders' workshop, December 2015 (PDF 347KB)

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