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Published: 14 June 2016

New innovation centre to advance the wellbeing of animals

A new centre to promote the development and adoption of digital innovation in animal health has been set up by the University and Zoetis, the world's largest producer of medicine and vaccinations for pets and livestock.

The Veterinary Health Innovation Engine (vHive) will lead to improved understanding of animal health and early identification of problems in a similar manner to eHealth for people.

The University has invested over £127 million in developing vHive, a multidisciplinary research environment that includes the 5G Innovation Centre, the Centre for the Digital Economy in Surrey Business School and the new School of Veterinary Medicine. These combined resources provide a unique opportunity to harness the benefits of our digital age for the health and welfare of animals, their owners and wider society.

Digital technologies, including apps and sensors, will improve understanding of animal health and enable early detection of population threats such as Bluetongue and the Schmallenburg virus. Examples of technologies already available include the PetDialog, which manages pet health, and the University’s Pathpal app, which captures data for post-mortems examinations.

Professor Alex Cook, Head of vHive, said: “This pioneering centre has been created to serve as a science and technology smart business hub that will welcome the involvement of other partners – as observers, as participants in projects and as investors. We look forward to developing important, collaborative projects to utilise rapidly evolving digital technology.”

Dr Alejandro Bernal, Executive Vice President and Group President, Strategy, Commercial and Business Development at Zoetis added: “From disease prevention to the management of health and wellbeing of animals, digital innovation is opening a new era in animal health, helping veterinarians and farmers to make more data-driven decisions.

“At Zoetis, we are delighted to be partnering with the University of Surrey as we can benefit from complementary areas of expertise, gathering information and building practical solutions to enable vets and farmers to perform even better in their business.”

The collaboration is supported with approximately £8.5 million co-investment in resources dedicated to the development and adoption of new technologies in animal health, as well as support from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership.

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