Veterinary Training and Research Initiative
Over a period of five years from 2004, Bristol University’s School of Clinical Veterinary Science will lead a programme of research and training to look at how the environment affects an animal’s susceptibility to disease. Funding for this initiative comes from Defra and HEFCE. Bristol’s partners in this initiative will be the Institute of Animal Health, the Institute of Food Research and the Health Protection Agency.
The training programme has the aim of increasing the recruitment and retention of veterinarians within veterinary research, especially infectious disease research. This will be done by increasing the awareness and understanding of all veterinary undergraduates and graduates of their crucial role in the control and prevention of diseases of national and international importance. The funding will enable the next generation of veterinary graduates to provide the scientific evidence to help inform Defra policies. Funding is available for research training, including sixth-form studentships, to pay students to spend four weeks in the summer holidays in the laboratory; undergraduate studentships to pay interested veterinary students to intercalate or spend time in a laboratory during vacations; PhD studentships; postdoctoral assistants; research leave fellowships for clinical academics.
The training element of the initiative is linked to a major research programme. It is now widely accepted that susceptibility to many infections and allergies includes both a genetic disposition and an environmental trigger. The group at Bristol will be looking at what those triggers are. The initiative will look at individual animals in different husbandry conditions, assess their behaviour and social status, their ‘good’ bacteria, their immune development, and then how pathogens behave inside them. This will allow the group to develop better welfare conditions for animals and reduce the amount of disease they contract and transmit. This grant confirms the importance of the University of Bristol as a centre for the study of the infectious diseases of farm animals.