On Friday 12 July 2019, the Chair of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Sir John Kingman, visited The Pirbright Institute to explore its research and specialist facilities that together provide a critical function in protecting the UK from viral diseases of livestock.
Sir John toured Pirbright’s campus, visiting multiple laboratories that house the Institute’s world class science and viewing the construction of new facilities funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC UKRI), which will increase research capacity.
Cutting-edge research undertaken as part of Pirbright’s Host and Virus research programmes were on display, including advances in vaccine development for foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) and African swine fever. Fundamental research was highlighted that is being applied to improve disease control by other groups at the Institute, such as the World Reference Laboratory for Foot-and-Mouth Disease (WRLFMD), which celebrated its 60th anniversary recently.
Scientists explained how the specialised high containment facilities provided by the BBSRC National Virology Centre: The Plowright Building and the BBSRC National Vaccinology Centre: The Jenner Building, enable the combination of fundamental and applied sciences to control and prevent devastating livestock viruses that cause diseases globally, thus helping to protect the UK. The tour culminated with the official unveiling of a brick bull monument by Sir John, which was created to mark sixty years of achievement of the WRLFMD.
Sir John Kingman, the Chair of UKRI that provides the funding to develop the highly specialised infrastructure at Pirbright and the majority of the operational and science funding said: “There is really no substitute for seeing the work and the people close-up. What I saw today was hugely impressive.”
In the photo above, Sir John Kingman stands beside the brick bull monument that celebrates sixty years of the World Reference Laboratory for Foot-and-Mouth Disease. From left to right: Professor John Stephenson, Chair of Pirbright Trustee Board; Dr Bryan Charleston, Director of The Pirbright Institute; Sir John Kingman, Chair of UKRI; Dr Michael Johnson, Director of Capability at The Pirbright Institute.