Two of Scotland’s leading livestock research organisations are to work more closely together in a new strategic partnership to help advance farm animal health, welfare production and system resilience.

Moredun Research Institute (MRI) and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) already work together through the provision of research and veterinary disease surveillance services to the Scottish Government. But they say a strengthened partnership will build on their complementary expertise and capacity in animal health, welfare, genetics, nutrition and pastoral farming systems.

 The two bodies will establish cross-disciplinary collaborative teams in areas such as biosecurity, food security and SMART farming. These teams will share facilities, equipment and resources. In addition, the SAC Consulting veterinary team based on the Bush Estate near Edinburgh will relocate to a shared laboratory at Moredun, located just south of the city.

The partners say the move will maximise the opportunities to leverage new sources of investment from Scottish, UK, EU and global funders, while driving improvements in the quality and relevance of research at both a local and global level. These could include: new technologies to enhance livestock health, welfare and production; a focus on grassland and grazing systems; novel approaches to precision agriculture in integrated farming systems, particularly upland and hill areas; and the protection of human health through reducing zoonotic infections as well as antibiotic and pesticide usage.

 “This strengthened relationship with Moredun signals a step change in the way that Scottish research institutes will work and collaborate in future,” says SRUC principal and chief executive Wayne Powell. “Underpinning this relationship is a fundamental shift in our approach to ‘doing business’ where we will seek to maximise opportunities to share facilities and expertise and create critical mass in selected areas of research where we have recognised strength or the potential to create world-class presence and impact rapidly.”

  Prof Julie Fitzpatrick, Scientific Director and Chief Executive of Moredun Research Institute and Prof Wayne Powell, Principal & Chief Executive of Scotland’s Rural College

Prof Julie Fitzpatrick, Scientific Director and Chief Executive of Moredun Research Institute and Prof Wayne Powell, Principal & Chief Executive of Scotland’s Rural College