Published: 16 October 2015

Surrey secures funding to drive research into animal health

The University of Surrey and The Pirbright Institute have been awarded £1.2 million funding for a new project which will enable scientific researchers and businesses to work together and help establish the area as internationally-recognised for animal health.

The Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership award will fund a unique initiative combining animal health, digital innovation and business collaboration, and will initially comprise two elements.

The first is a new centre at The Pirbright Institute to enable researchers, visiting scientists, academics and commercial partners to work together to develop projects and secure collaborations, support and funding.

The second element will be a Digital Innovation Centre for Animal Health, hosted by the University of Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine. The Centre will collaborate with the University’s 5G Innovation Centre and the Surrey Centre for the Digital Economy at Surrey Business School to promote new approaches to collection and use of data. It will also facilitate access to data generated by research for commercial organisations, partners and researchers.

The projects are expected to generate significant inward investment from national and international companies and create new jobs. Further jobs will be generated through future commercial partnerships.

Professor Lisa Roberts, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, said: “The University is delighted with this award, which will enable us to create a centre to promote digital innovation in animal health.

“The centre will reinforce our existing links with The Pirbright Institute and the Animal and Plant Health Agency and will also be of significant interest to the commercial sector. It is a further step to realise our ambition to create a true centre of excellence in Surrey for veterinary research.”

It is envisaged that the funding will enable local growth through new interactions between partners, industry leaders and small and medium-sized enterprises.  By linking small enterprises with large companies, economy of scale benefits could enable new ideas getting to market more quickly.

Geoff French CBE, Chair of the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Board, said: “This is an exciting, collaborative project which will help researchers to work more effectively with businesses.

“The projects will help secure funding from the public and private sector – as well as creating jobs, encouraging innovation in the animal health field and driving economic growth in the area.

“We have fantastic research taking place and these projects we’ve funded will help establish the area as an internationally-recognised leader in this field.”

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