The Pirbright Institute has been jointly awarded £1.2 million in funding by the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (the LEP), alongside the University of Surrey. The funding will go towards a state-of-the-art ‘Animal Health Innovation Hub’ which will help scientific researchers to work more effectively with businesses.
The LEP works to secure economic growth in the area and has funded this project to help establish Surrey as a base which is internationally recognised for animal health.
The Institute’s award will fund the creation of a Research Innovation Hub which will aid the collaboration of researchers, visiting scientists, academics and commercial partners in developing projects and securing further collaborations, support and funding.
Making the Institute’s research more accessible is vital in joining different industries to help share information and create projects that will benefit both scientific discovery and medical advancement.
Geoff French, 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.”
Professor John Fazakerley, Director of The Pirbright Institute said: “The Institute is a world-leading centre of excellence in research into viruses that affect farm animals and viruses that spread from livestock to people. This funding will enable us to host experts from around the world and instigate opportunities for collaboration that will enhance Surrey’s already strong position as a ‘go-to’ destination for animal science.”
The project will also fund a Digital Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine which will promote new approaches to the collection and use of data. This will enable commercial organisations to access research information from Surrey, Pirbright and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) more efficiently.
Professor Lisa Roberts, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences at the University of Surrey, said: “The university is delighted with this award, which will enable us to create a centre to promote digital innovation in animal health.
“It recognises our strong collaborative work between the University’s 5G Innovation Centre CoDE at the Surrey Business School and our new School of Veterinary Medicine.
“The centre will reinforce our existing links with The Pirbright Institute and APHA 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.”
APHA’s involvement will be key, Dr Andrew Soldan, Commercial Director at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), added: “This is an exciting opportunity to establish mutually beneficial partnerships aimed at exploiting the extensive, unique datasets generated by APHA’s research and build on our international reputation in animal health research.
“This initiative highlights our regional strength in animal and public health research and brings together the shared ambitions, skills and expertise of the APHA, The Pirbright Institute and the University of Surrey, driving opportunities for more innovation and growth.”
In addition to creating new jobs, the project will create a unique partnership combining animal health, digital innovation and business collaboration which is expected to bring in significant investment from national and international companies.