The University of Liverpool has been awarded £7.7 million to improve the health and wealth of people in the Horn of Africa by increasing local capacity to undertake ‘One Health’ research.
The money have been awarded by the Research Councils UK (RCUK) from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Growing Research Capability call, which supports projects in the range of £2-8 million over four years.
The GCRF call aims to build upon research knowledge in the UK, and strengthen capacity overseas, to help address challenges, informed by expressed need in the developing countries.
The One Health Regional Network for the Horn of Africa (HORN) will bring together partners from Liverpool, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea to train local scientists, conduct research, and take advantage of a state of the art biosciences hub in Nairobi (ILRI-BecA) to allow African researchers to access a technology usually only found in developed countries.
Human health and wellbeing are intimately entwined with those of wild animals, pets and livestock. Livestock sustain people by providing them with food, draft power and income. But they also pose risks because they can transmit infectious diseases.
Project lead Professor Matthew Baylis, from the University’s Institute of Infection and Global Health, said: “A ‘One Health’ research approach focuses on the interfaces between the environment, animals and humans, and in the part of the world that is the most heavily dependent on livestock – the Horn of Africa – it needs a boost.
“Our hope is to understand better the health links between people, animals and the environment. This should lead to improved nutrition, less risk of new diseases emerging from animals, and more prosperity… as well as a strong system in place for conducting further research.”
Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, said: “From healthcare to green energy, the successful projects receiving funding today highlight the strength of the UK’s research base and our leadership in helping developing countries tackle some of the greatest global issues of our time.
“At a time when the pace of scientific discovery and innovation is quickening, we are placing science and research at the heart of our Industrial Strategy to build on our strengths and maintain our status as science powerhouse.”
Building research capacity
Andrew Thompson, RCUK GCRF Champion, said: “The 37 projects announced today build research capacity both here in the UK and in developing countries to address systemic development challenges, from African agriculture to sustainable cities, clean oceans, and green energy, to improved healthcare, food security, and gender equality.”
The project will start in October 2017 and will run for four years.
HORN is a partnership primarily between the University of Liverpool with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; University of Nairobi, International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya; University of Asmara, Eritrea; and IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School and Reference Centre, Somalia.
RCUK is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils. Our collective ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business. For more information please visit http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/