Case Study

Aberystwyth University     Back to universities

Aberystwyth’s new £4.2 million EU-backed veterinary facility and Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock hub

  • £4.2 million state-of-the-art veterinary hub to drive forward research to protect both animal and human health.
  • The project, backed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, will construct a fully-equipped, high-specification laboratory and office spaces.
  • The aim of this exciting new development is to work with industry to produce new tests and vaccines to reduce loss in the livestock industry by supporting those businesses whose trade is in livestock.
  • A further £650,000 investment from the Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock for an animal sciences facility working alongside Vet Hub 1 to develop new industry-needed solutions.
  • Strong linkages with the new Centre of Excellence for Bovine Tuberculosis due to open at Aberystwyth University late 2018, led by Professor Glyn Hewinson, world renowned expert on Bovine Tuberculosis and representing an investment of £3.6 million.

Aberystwyth University’s status as the leading research institute for animal health in Wales was reinforced in July 2017 when plans for a £4.2 million state-of-the-art veterinary hub to drive forward research to protect both animal and human health were announced. The project, backed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, will construct a fully-equipped, high-specification laboratory and office spaces.

This EU funded project will develop an Innovation Cluster called ‘Vet Hub 1’ to provide modern, fully-equipped, state-of-the-art office spaces together with a category 3 bacteriological laboratory in addition to a category 2, as a secure environment for work on Bovine TB, in addition to a range of other developments in, and tests for, animal diseases that are now emerging and which impact on those businesses that rely on this sector.

The main aim of this exciting new development is to work with industry to produce new tests and vaccines to reduce loss in the livestock industry by supporting those businesses whose trade is in livestock, in addition to the further development of veterinary practices, other animal health care business, biotechnology, animal food manufacture and other allied industries.

The project will provide a range of opportunities for businesses throughout the livestock supply chain, and associated industries, which will benefit from the new facility and collaborative research opportunities. Through Vet Hub 1, researchers will work with industry to develop tests and vaccines that will help reduce losses in the livestock industry and improve animal health. The researchers will particularly be looking at developing solutions for animal borne diseases that could pass to humans.

The hub will provide a focus for businesses to develop new products and services, as well creating new high-quality jobs in the area. The facility will also lead to the further development of veterinary practices and other animal health care as well as biotechnology, animal food manufacture and other allied industries.

Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, said: ‘Universities have an important role to play in developing research which has an impact on the communities they serve. Vet Hub 1 will make a valuable contribution to the rural economy and to the livestock industry here in Wales and farther afield. We are proud to be working in collaboration on this project with the Growing Mid Wales Partnership, the Wales Veterinary Science Centre and other partners.’

The University has secured a further £650,000 investment from the Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock for an animal sciences facility working alongside Vet Hub 1. The University is one of the 13 elite research institutions within the framework across the UK to provide a focussed gateway to world-class research institutes to develop new industry-needed solutions in partnership with 19 commercial companies. The involvement with Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock will strengthen the commercial partnership within Vet Hub 1 and ensure that it retains its focus on bringing new products to market.

Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock create world-class research facilities, openly accessible to industry and operated amidst a culture of collaboration, are enhancing and accelerating business-led innovation; leading to new products and services to benefit the entire supply chain and ultimately produce the products that consumers want and need. The facilities co-funded through the research institutes with the support of Innovate UK, enable collaborative research and development across a wide range of challenge areas for livestock production.

The hub will collaborate closely with a new Centre of Excellence for Bovine Tuberculosis for Wales, to open at Aberystwyth University in late 2018, bringing together international expertise with the aim of eradicating the cattle disease. The new centre represents an investment of £3.6 million and will be led by Professor Glyn Hewinson, a world-renowned expert on Bovine Tuberculosis and currently Lead Scientist for Bovine TB at the Animal and Plant Health Agency, has led research into the disease for more than 20 years. Dr Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, said: ‘Professor Hewinson is a pioneer in the field of research into Bovine TB and will bring with him World-class expertise and leadership. He is held in the highest regard among his peers internationally and his appointment is a real statement of intent in our determination to tackle this disease.’

The Centre of Excellence aims to commercialise the products it develops, collaborating with industry on products such as new diagnostic tests and vaccines. Bovine TB has a significant financial and social impact on farm businesses and the wider rural community. The cost of fighting the disease is estimated to cost around £26 million a year in Wales alone, through the TB control programme and compensation to keepers whose animals are slaughtered.