Bill Gates and Secretary of State for International Development visited the Easter Bush Campus

Thursday 1st February 2018, 10:00am

The event included showcasing of work on improving livestock production in Africa and the announcement of a £4 million boost from the UK Government.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt, Bill Gates, Professor Geoff Simm, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea at unveiling of plaque to launch Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security - credit UofE

On Friday 26 January, Bill Gates and Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt visited the Easter Bush Campus of the University of Edinburgh, where The Roslin Institute is based, to discuss efforts to address challenges around livestock health and productivity.

During the visit, the Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt, announced an investment of £4 million from the Department for International Development (DFID). 

Funding will enable scientists in Scotland, Africa, Australia and the USA to tackle challenges faced by livestock farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. It will support research in the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health – a joint venture between The Roslin Institute, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya and Ethiopia.

This latest investment builds on a £10m award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced in 2015, supported by matched funding from the three partners.

Research at CTLGH aims to improve the productivity of livestock breeds that are available to small-holder farmers in Africa and enhance the animals’ resilience and resistance to disease.

CTLGH involves UK, Africa, Australia and USA-based scientists working together primarily at two major hubs, in Edinburgh and in Nairobi. It has five research strands focusing on dairy genomics, chicken genomics, the genetics of health, new breeding technologies and data management.

"The additional support from DFID is truly appreciated and is indeed a welcome addition to CTLGH resources, which will greatly increase our ability to support ongoing work and to attract other outstanding and highly committed scientists to tackle challenges of tropical animal agriculture and sustainable development."

Professor Appolinaire Djikeng, Director, Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, The Roslin Institute

"Livestock farming offers a route out of poverty in many parts of the world. It can also help to provide protein nutrition for children, which is key for child development and lifelong health. This welcome investment from the UK Government will build on the long-term engagement of the University of Edinburgh with partners in Africa and adds considerable momentum to the new Centre."

Professor Eleanor Riley, Director, The Roslin Institute

Nearly 900 million people rely on livestock for their livelihoods and the loss of animals through disease devastates people’s lives.

"SRUC is delighted to be a founding partner of this important Centre. It reflects our ethos of strong translational, challenge-led research. The added value of this partnership will result in a more efficient and climate resilient improvement programme for sub-Saharan Africa."

Professor Wayne Powell, Principal & Chief Executive, SRUC

"CTLGH brings together an innovative mix of livestock genetics and health expertise working on the front lines of science-for-development impact. This important investment from the UK Government will strengthen links between UK and African researchers for the benefit of millions of people as well as sustainable livestock development."

Dr Jimmy Smith, Director General, ILRI

The event celebrated UK Innovation for Agricultural Development and the launch of The University of Edinburgh’s new Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security. This new Academy aims to provide world-leading research, innovation, education, training and consulting, in support of global food and environmental security, sustainable rural development, and animal and human wellbeing. During the visit, the international collaborations CTLGH, Supporting Evidence-based Interventions (SEBI) and GALVmed, showcased their work to the Gates Foundation.

The announcement was made during a visit to the University of Edinburgh on Friday 26 January and was broadcast live on Facebook.

Contact information:

Jen Middleton
Press and Public Relations Officer
University of Edinburgh
Communications and Marketing
T: +44 (0)131 650 6514