New £1.6m animal disease surveillance centre for SRUC

Published: 21 March 2019

A new £1.6 million centre for animal disease surveillance and research means faster, more reliable and more efficient diagnoses of livestock animal diseases for the whole of Scotland.

Based within Midlothian Science Zone, the new Scotland’s Rural College Veterinary and Analytical Laboratory expects to analyse more than a million samples a year.

Diagnosing disease faster has the potential to improve response times to potential outbreaks to safeguard both animal and human health and protect the food chain.

Sruclabsopening Psp 500

Scotland’s Rural College scientist, Josh Bird demonstrates robotic sample sorting equipment to
the Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, Mairi Gougeon

Opened today (21 March 2019) by Mairi Gougeon MSP, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, the SRUC Veterinary and Analytical Laboratory brings together new technology, robotics and human expertise to create a centre for excellence in animal disease surveillance and testing.

Thanks to investment in new equipment and faster processes, more tests can be carried out. Longer tests, which involve culturing bacteria, can now be done in under two days rather than six.

The SRUC Veterinary and Analytical Laboratory is based at the Moredun Research Institute at the Pentlands Science Park in Midlothian. The laboratory brings together SRUC’s diagnostic and analytical teams from around the Midlothian area – as well as Perthshire and the Borders – into a single centre for the first time.

The new laboratory creates a closer working relationship between SRUC and the Moredun Research Institute. It is at the centre of a strategic partnership between SRUC and Moredun to advance livestock health, welfare production, disease surveillance, and resilience through joint research.

The Scottish Government has supported the creation of the new laboratory through a low-cost loan from the Scottish Funding Council’s Financial Transactions Programme.

“The new SRUC central laboratory will enhance veterinary surveillance in Scotland and will create a centre of excellence at the Moredun Institute, further strengthening Scotland’s capacity and expertise in animal health. The laboratory will help to protect and develop our valuable livestock sector and the contribution it makes to the rural economy, I look forward to seeing how this work progresses in the future.”

Mairi Gougeon MSP, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment

“Animal health is a cornerstone of a thriving rural economy and the new SRUC Veterinary and Analytical Laboratory offers a step-change in disease surveillance for the whole of the country. Working with the excellent team at the Moredun Institute, this centre of excellence offers us new opportunities for research and collaboration. Partnerships like ours are the future of rural technology research for Scotland.”

Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC

“The new centre and the partnership between SRUC and the Moredun Research Institute is very good news for the rural sector in Scotland. The Scottish Funding Council’s £1.6 million support for the new laboratory underlines our commitment to cutting edge research and innovation as an essential part of Scotland’s future prosperity.”

Martin Fairbairn, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council


Source: SRUC



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