Researching zoonotic pathogen emergence, detection and protection

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Apply for funding to:

  • improve understanding of the animal-human-environment interface
  • develop vaccine and diagnostics technology platforms to improve animal health.

You must be:

  • a UK scientist based at an eligible UK institute
  • working in the fields of animal health or detection and prevention technologies in relation to zoonotic diseases.

Your project must include:

  • a minimum of three partners from three different countries
  • a maximum of eight partners.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to 750,000 euros. We will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Your project can last up to three years.

Applications must be submitted through the ICRAD website. See the full details on the ICRAD funding opportunity announcement.

Who can apply

This opportunity is open to all UK scientists based at eligible UK institutions. Applicants must work in the fields of animal-human-environment interface or detection and prevention technologies in relation to zoonotic diseases, with a focus on animal health.

Applicants for the UK component must meet the standard BBSRC eligibility rules and be based at either a:

  • higher education institution
  • research council institute
  • UKRI-approved independent research organisation
  • eligible public sector research establishment.

Check if your institution is eligible for research and innovation funding

Read further information regarding UK applicant eligibility in the BBSRC research grants guide.

Transnational consortia must include:

  • a minimum of three partners from three different countries
  • a maximum of eight partners.

The consortium cannot include more than two partners from one country.

Cross-sectorial and industry involvement are encouraged.

What we're looking for

The ‘International Coordination of Research on Infectious Animal Diseases (ICRAD) ‘one health’ approach to zoonoses’ opportunity covers the major groups of infectious diseases of animals, caused by viral, bacterial, parasitic, prions and fungal pathogens.

The UK academic component of applications must fall within the remit of BBSRC. BBSRC’s ‘animal health’ strategic priority area is a good guide to our remit in relation to this opportunity.

In summary, research should focus on fundamental and strategic advances leading to interventions for combating endemic and exotic zoonotic diseases that reduce the health and welfare of either animals farmed for food production in the UK (and where appropriate, in the international context) or other domesticated animals of economic importance.

While we expect projects to be multidisciplinary, the primary focus and challenges of the UK component of the project should be biological rather than social or environmental.

Read further information on the research areas that BBSRC funds.

This funding opportunity is open to international research proposals addressing one or more objectives under the following two research areas, taking into account the exclusions.

Research area one: improved understanding of animal-human-environment interface

1a. Pathogen (re)emergence and host adaptation

The focus here should be on research to support the understanding of how pathogens (re)emerge, such as highly pathogenic influenzas. However, all pathogens that pose a zoonotic risk are important.

1b. Host and pathogen interactions

Research to better understand:

  • the host immune response
  • protective immunity
  • characterisation of effective immune mechanisms in surviving animals
  • mechanisms of persistence in the host.

Research area two: detection and prevention

Research to support the development of novel and improved vaccine and diagnostic tools and platforms will be supported, as will research to assess the utility and efficacy of existing technology platforms in respect of new applications (new pathogens).

2a. Vaccine technology platforms

Robust and flexible vaccine platform technologies, fit for multiple, and rapidly changeable vaccine targets, can reduce the technical and regulatory time for vaccines against emerging pathogens. There is also a need for expansion, development and adjustment of animal models (for example to determine vaccine efficacy and safety in different species) and non-animal models (for example expand upon in vitro and in silico techniques, organoids, organ-on-chip and 3D cell culture).

2b. Diagnostic technology platforms

Novel and point of care diagnostic platforms are needed to accurately detect disease presence in animals. Although reagents are available to develop diagnostics in many animal species, these are not always practical in the field or effective at detecting the presence or exposure to pathogens. There are gaps for wild animal species which are important to address.

Funding available

BBSRC have £2 million available for the UK to join the opportunity. Information about maximum funding per project can be found on the ICRAD website.

Costs incurred by the UK academic partner as a direct result of working with the other consortium partners (such as visits to labs or exchange of materials) can be requested.

The UK component of applications should be costed on the basis of full economic costing as described in the BBSRC grants guide. If the grant is awarded, BBSRC will provide funding on the basis of 80% of the full economic cost.

Applicants must clearly justify all the requested resources. The submitting organisations must agree to find the balance of full economic cost for the project from other resources.

Final awards from BBSRC will be made in British Pounds (GBP); costs listed in the ERA ICRAD application forms must be converted into Euros (EUR) using the exchange rate at the time of submission.

UK applicants invited to prepare a full proposal will also be asked to complete a BBSRC proforma to ensure their proposal complies with the requirements of full economic costs.

Applicants requesting items of equipment costing over £10,000 (11,500 EUR) should note that additional justification will be required when submitting the proposal through Je-S and that the research organisation will be expected to make a contribution to the cost of the equipment.

Further information about justification of resources.

What we will not fund

The research funded through this opportunity is to improve health of livestock, therefore, research that mainly focuses on the below are not in scope of the opportunity:

  • improving human health
  • antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • companion animals
  • climate, ecology and environment
  • food-borne pathogens
  • animal welfare.

BBSRC is not able to fund industrial partners, and any costs incurred, direct or otherwise, by industrial partners cannot be met by BBSRC. For further information about collaborative partnerships, see Section 2 of the BBSRC Grants Guide. The IPA and LINK schemes do not operate for this opportunity.

Studentships will not be supported by BBSRC as part of this opportunity and students should not be included on the UK component.

How to apply

Applicants must contact the main UK programme officer at UKRI-BBSRC to discuss the remit of their proposal and to confirm that the UK component is appropriate. Contact details for the UKRI programme officer can be found in the ‘contact us’ section.

Applicants must first submit a pre-proposal and then, if successful, will be invited to submit a full proposal.

Applications must be submitted via the ICRAD website.

Application preparation and submission instruction can be found on the ICRAD website.

For UK applicants, once you have been notified that you have been successful, the costing for the UK component of the project should be entered on the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system. The Je-S form should not be formally ‘submitted’ electronically to BBSRC at this stage.

How we will assess your application

Further information with regards to the assessment process can be found on the ICRAD website.

Contact details

Ask a question about this opportunity

It is mandatory to contact the national contact point before submitting an application.

UK contact

Nikki Mackie

Email: ICRAD@bbsrc.ukri.org

International contact details can be found in the full call document on the ICRAD website.

Get help with Je-S

Any queries regarding the submission of proposals through Je-S should be directed to the Je-S helpdesk:

Additional info

Background

The ERA-NET Cofund International Coordination of Research on Infectious Animal Diseases (ICRAD) supports cross-cutting research to improve animal health and welfare, with associated benefits towards public health, the environment and the economy. It aims to connect research partners with different but complementary scientific and technological expertise to maximise resources and share risks, costs and skills.

There are 31 partners from 21 countries participating in this opportunity. The ERA-NET is coordinated by Denmark, and BBSRC and DEFRA are deputy coordinators. The main aims of ICRAD are to:

  • improve the ability to control and prevent emerging and endemic diseases
  • increase preparedness and ability to respond to emerging and endemic livestock threats
  • contribute to the reduction of antimicrobial and antiparasitic use in livestock and to minimising the development of resistance for the benefit of animal and public health
  • contribute to animal welfare by better prevention of diseases and renewed animal management and farming systems
  • contribute to food security and competitive and sustainable livestock systems.

ICRAD is launching the second opportunity to fund trans-national collaborative research projects on ‘one health’ approaches to zoonoses research and innovation.

Pathogen emergence is a regular event that is accelerating through the interplay of complex factors,for example globalisation, the expansion and changing management of agri-environments, mobility and trade and the infringement and degradation of wider ecosystems.

Scientists estimate that more than six out of every 10 known infectious diseases in humans may originate from animals, and that three out of every four new, emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.

The COVID-19 health crisis reconfirms how people and nature are interlinked, and how the man-made negative impact on the natural world increases the risk of future pandemics.

In our increasingly globalised world, the probability is higher than ever that a new disease becomes a global pandemic, with serious consequences for health, welfare, economies and ecosystems.

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 represents one of an increasing number of infectious disease threats, including the continuing risk of H1N1 pandemic influenza, and avian influenza.

New and re-emerging infectious diseases (such as Brucellosis, prion diseases and Anthrax) including vector-borne diseases (such as West Nile virus, Leishmaniasis and Lyme disease) constitute a persistent threat for mankind and animals.

There is an urgent and continuing need for new ways for detection, management, prevention and control (vaccines and diagnostics).

Terms and conditions

BBSRC supports the ERA-Net ICRAD call for proposals and encourages its community to apply for funding for collaborative research in the European research area through this opportunity. Subject to scientific excellence, and all conditions of eligibility and peer review being fully met.

All UK components submitted to this opportunity will be subject to standard BBSRC funding criteria, as outlined in the BBSRC grants guide.

Prospective applicants must contact the relevant contact person to ensure their proposal is within the remit of the opportunity.

Grants will be subject to standard UKRI full economic cost grants terms and conditions.

Ethical considerations

Applicants must ensure that all of the proposed research, both that in the UK and in partner country, will comply with the principles of BBSRC’s and other UK funders’ common guidance on responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research.

In particular, UK institutions should be aware of the following aspect of the guidance relating to research or collaboration outside the UK:

‘When collaborating with other laboratories, or where animal facilities are provided by third parties, researchers and the local ethics committee in the UK should satisfy themselves that welfare standards consistent with the principles of UK legislation (for example the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986), and set out in this guidance, are applied and maintained. Where there are significant deviations, prior approval from the funding body should be sought and agreed.’

Supporting documents

BBSRC research grants guide

Check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding

ICRAD webinar, 8 October 10:00-12:00

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