Work has begun on the £14M National Avian Research Facility (NARF) at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush campus.
Its resources will be made available to both national and international researchers studying issues affecting avian health, such as the spread of infections. This is paramount in an industry worth five per cent of the world-market food value and rising demand for food from a growing population.
Research could range from looking at diseases that have a huge economic burden on the industry, such as Campylobacter and Salmonella, to developing vaccines against infections.
Construction of the facility, which is due to be completed late 2014, is being funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Roslin Foundation and University of Edinburgh.
Key aims for the facility include addressing the need for improved sustainability in poultry production in light of an increasing global population and benefitting human health through reducing food-borne diseases.
The NARF will include sterile areas, known as specified-pathogen-free, for poultry, with different genetic compositions, that are resistant to viruses, bacteria and parasites. It will also include conventional avian accommodation as well as laboratories for research.
The facility will enhance research already carried out at The Roslin Institute, such as studies in avian immunology, vaccine development and the role that genes play in disease resistance.