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Joint UK/China poultry initiative up for major global prize

Establishment of a Sino-British Centre for Research on Avian Diseases has put its founders in the running for the prestigious Newton Prize, which celebrates outstanding international research partnerships.

Professor Venugopal Nair OBE, head of the Viral Oncogenesis group at the Pirbright Institute and Dr Zhiqiang Shen of the Shandong-Binzhou Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine Academy have been nominated for the £1m prize, which will be divided between 4 winning research projects.

Sustainable growth of the poultry sector

The UK-China Centre of Excellence for Research on Avian Diseases (CERAD) promotes research for enhancing sustainable growth of the poultry industry by preventing major diseases that cause significant economic losses and animal welfare issues.

State of the art research and training

CERAD provides state of the art research and training for UK and Chinese scientists and students through joint research projects, exchange visits for training and education on new technologies for disease control as well as organising international conferences.

Broilers

With the UK poultry broiler industry contributing approximately £3.6bn of the goods and services provided in the country and the Chinese sector having 7 billion broilers and layers, sustained growth in both countries is being hampered by continued challenges from a large number of avian diseases. CERAD, which is also funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, is leading the way in enabling scientists to carry out fundamental and applied research in improving poultry health.

Competition for Newton Prize

CERAD is up against programmes and projects including the development of an integrated urban framework for climate services in the Yangtze River Delta region; transforming service design and big data technologies into sustainable urbanisation; applying nature-based coastal defence to the world’s largest urban area; development of a high performance solar heat and power system using photovoltaic /thermal technology.

Prof Nair said: “I am very honoured that our project has been shortlisted. The Newton Fund acts as a catalyst for international research collaborations and this funding was vital to the success of CERAD.”

The winners will be announced in London on 9 December.