The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is pioneering an ambitious new approach to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges through a £200M investment across 12 global research Hubs.
Over the next five years the Interdisciplinary Research Hubs will work across 85 countries with governments, international agencies, partners and NGOs on the ground in developing countries and around the globe, to develop creative and sustainable solutions which help make the world, and the UK, safer, healthier and more prosperous.
Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI Champion for International, said: “The sheer scale and ambition of these Hubs is what makes them so exciting. They enable us to deliver a coordinated global response with UK researchers working in partnership with researchers, governments, NGOs, community groups and international agencies across developing countries. Each Hub has the potential to transform the quality of life for multitudes throughout the world and safeguard our planet for future generations.”
In the Department of Zoology, we are delighted to announce our involvement in two Hub projects.
UKRI GCRF One Health Poultry Hub
Professors Oliver Pybus and Sunetra Gupta
Population growth is driving global demand for safe, low-cost poultry meat and eggs but rapid intensification creates conditions for diseases. This Hub explores how to meet rising demand while minimising the risk to public health. It will study how intensification increases risk of infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance, why certain processes and behaviours are risky and establish when and where to test interventions for disease control. Working with strong networks of local, regional and global stakeholders, the evidence generated will be put to immediate use.
Professor Pybus said: “Sunetra and I are delighted to be part of the GCRF One Health Poultry Hub, and we look forward to applying our expertise in virus epidemiology and evolution to the challenge of producing food safely and sustainably.”
UKRI GCRF Trade, Development and the Environment Hub
Professor EJ Milner Gulland
Thousands of species are threatened globally with extinction, there has been a swift decline in biodiversity and ecosystem resilience and people are being kept in poverty as trade in wildlife and agricultural commodities from low and middle-income countries has rapidly increased. This Hub includes economists, trade modellers, political scientists, ecologists, development scientists, large companies, UN bodies and NGOs who will work together across supply chains to influence trade related policy and practice. It will also produce research to help ensure that trade becomes a driver of positive change in the world, with biodiversity loss halted and people permanently lifted out of poverty.
Professor Milner Gulland said: “Ensuring that international trade is positive for sustainable development rather than destructive for nature is one of the major challenges for humanity. That is why I’m excited to be part of this GCRF hub, which will bring together people from major trading countries and a range of sectors (including academia, business and government) to address this issue. I am particularly excited that Oxford will be hosting early career researchers from Africa and Indonesia to work collaboratively with our research team, bringing new perspectives and opportunities both to them and to Oxford.”