26 January, 2018, Edinburgh, U.K.: Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will today visit the University of Edinburgh with the Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt, to showcase British excellence in research and development aimed at finding solutions to the toughest challenges facing livestock farmers. They will meet scientists working on livestock innovations at the University that will ensure healthier, more productive animals for farmers in the UK and around the world.
An event with staff and students to be held at The Centre Building at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus will showcase how UK research is improving the health and productivity of livestock which, in turn, raises incomes of vulnerable farmers and their communities in the developing world.
Alongside funding announcements to be made by the Department for International Development today, the Gates Foundation will announce an additional $40 million over five years for the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed), a public-private partnership based in Edinburgh, which develops livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics and makes them accessible and affordable to millions of the poorest smallholder farmers across Africa and South Asia. In addition to GALVmed, the Gates Foundation also invests in additional agricultural innovation projects including the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH) which utilizes cutting edge animal genetics and selective breeding to sustainably improve livestock productivity and resilience in developing countries as well as the Supporting Evidence Based Interventions project which looks at how data-sharing and accessibility can help inform better livestock decision making.
Also at the event, Bill Gates and Secretary of State Mordaunt will participate in the University of Edinburgh’s launch of the Global Academy for Agriculture and Food Security, a £35 million research and teaching initiative focused on safeguarding the future of the world’s food supplies.
Over 1.3 billion people depend on livestock for their livelihoods, but rearing livestock in developing countries is challenging. Diseases in livestock reduce farmers’ incomes and can pose serious risks to human health, with one quarter of the animals owned by poor farmers lost from preventable and treatable illnesses. As part of its mission to help all people live healthy and productive lives, the Gates Foundation is committed to supporting research that empowers farmers to lift their families out of poverty and contribute to a sustainable global food system.
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said:
“For over a billion people living in the world’s poorest countries, agriculture and livestock are a lifeline out of poverty. The science and research being led by the great minds here in Edinburgh are making huge strides in improving the health and productivity of livestock. With this investment in GALVmed, we can take advantage of the UK’s leading R&D capabilities to fight the spread of livestock diseases, both protecting animals in the developing world and here in the UK. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s investment of $40 million dollars will help GALVmed make vaccines, medicines and diagnostics accessible to millions of the world’s poorest smallholder farmers.
“It’s great to have the chance to visit the University of Edinburgh with Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt and to see how the UK’s leadership in research and innovation doesn’t just benefit Britain, but also saves and improves lives in the poorest parts of the world.”
Peter Jeffries, chief executive of the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines, said:
“The challenges for smallholder farmers are numerous. With the new funding, we expect to offer simpler solutions to their needs through an enhanced portfolio of high impact products and improved distribution networks, offering improved control of livestock diseases.”