New network places Surrey and Hampshire at head of global search for animal health innovation - Veterinary Practice
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New network places Surrey and Hampshire at head of global search for animal health innovation

The University of Surrey is partnering with organisations across Surrey and Hampshire to establish a new network, the Animal Health Innovation Network, that will champion its “One Health, One Medicine” approach

The University of Surrey is partnering with organisations across Surrey and Hampshire to establish a network that will champion its “One Health, One Medicine” approach by driving sustainable solutions in human, animal and environmental health. The Animal Health Innovation Network will address crucial health issues such as viruses that jump from animals to humans and antimicrobial resistance.

According to Grand View Research, the animal health industry is currently valued at £36 billion globally and is estimated to reach up £78 billion by 2028.

The Animal Health Innovation Network will see the University of Surrey work with the Enterprise M3 (EM3) Local Enterprise Partnership and local centres of excellence, including The Pirbright Institute, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and Sparsholt College. The network will also work alongside an ecosystem of industry partners, including global animal health company, Zoetis.

The network will leverage state-of-the-art technology to address global health issues, from making sure our food supply is more sustainable to improving the quality of life of our household pets.

For example, the network will lean on the University of Surrey’s new People-Centred AI Institute to meet the demand for biosensors that can analyse sound, movement and sense whether an animal is stressed. This technology could be used to support the UK’s £14 billion livestock market and its need to monitor large groups of animals, or it could be used to develop a consumer product that monitors the well-being of our household pets.

The Surrey and Hampshire region is uniquely positioned to deliver ground-breaking digital innovations to improve the health of animals due to its ever-expanding number of high-tech animal health businesses and organisations. To reflect the area’s growing importance, the Department for International Trade has designated the region (Surrey and Hampshire) a High Potential Opportunity (HPO) for international investment and an asset to the UK and global economies.

Professor Alasdair Cook, head of vHive, the veterinary health innovation engine at the University of Surrey, said: “I am delighted to be working with prestigious organisations across the region as part of the Animal Health Innovation Network. The HPO status will stimulate fresh opportunities for growth nationally and internationally and provide greater research and collaboration outputs for the University of Surrey and our partners.

“The network will use the University of Surrey’s cutting-edge expertise in machine learning and artificial intelligence to create new veterinary solutions that benefit the health of our pets who, of course, play a critical role in supporting our mental and physical health.

“Another goal is for the network to contribute to the global discussion of how we make our food supply more sustainable so we can eliminate hunger and improve the health of our planet.”

Rob Dunford, EM3’s director of business delivery, said: “Animal health is a booming, high-value sector in the EM3 region across Surrey and Hampshire. Innovation and commercialisation of the outstanding research taking place here will be accelerated by this Animal Health Innovation Network, taking our innovation active businesses to the next level. We are absolutely delighted to be facilitating this partnership.”

Director of Business Development and Commercial Alliances at Zoetis, Dr Theo Kanellos, said: “The Animal Health Innovation Network has a unique concentration of expertise and infrastructures through their partnering organisations that could bring disruptive innovation in digital, data analytics, diagnostics, biodevices, vaccines, and overall control of animal infectious diseases.

“This novel type of public-private network will accelerate the development and adoption of new technologies that could contribute to the quest for global sustainability.”

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