UofG to lead major European network aimed at training the next generation of animal scientists

Published: 2 May 2018

UofG is to lead a European network whose mission is to provide a European Double Doctorate level training programme on innovative technologies applied to animal science and nutrition.

The University of Glasgow’s is to lead a European network whose mission is to provide a European Double Doctorate level training programme on innovative technologies applied to animal science and nutrition.‌‌‌Door of the Graham Kerr Building (Zoology)‌‌‌‌

The four-year European Joint Doctorate in Molecular Animal Nutrition (MANNA) is a partnership between academic and industrial institutions in the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain, Croatia the Slovak Republic, Belgium and France. The network will be run from Glasgow's Institute for Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine (IBAHCM).

The MANNA programme will offer research and career development opportunities to 11 specially-selected young animal and veterinary scientists, called early stage researchers (ESRs), to give them the chance to perform top-level and high impact research through mentorship by some of Europe’s leading academic and industrial scientists. Each ESR will be supervised by two of the universities in the consortium and will graduate with a PhD degree from both universities, a Double Degree.

The ESRs will acquire in-depth experience in animal and veterinary sciences, proteomics, metabolomics, genomics and bioinformatics including statistical and computational approaches as well as wider management and communication skills such as intellectual property, gender issues, research integrity, entrepreneurship, emotional intelligence and how to communicate clearly.

MANNA will prepare research leaders with the capability to address the present and future needs of both industry and academia in the complex and expanding field of animal science.

The research is led by David Eckersall, Professor of Veterinary Biochemistry at IBAHCM who said: “The MANNA project will enable the application of advanced analytical technologies of proteomics, metabolomics and genomics to be applied to the study of animal nutrition in order to improve animal health and welfare.

“These technologies have brought major benefit to the study of human biology but proteomics and metabolomics in particular have had limited applications in animal science.

“There is tremendous scope for this approach, especially when allied with investigations in nutrition which are designed to improve the diet of animals in order to improve their health and welfare during production. For example, we will be assessing the benefits of including probiotics, anti-oxidants and immune-modulators to improve the natural defenses against infection and, in so doing, reduce the use of anti-microbials in farming. This will aid in reducing anti-microbial resistance.”

The consortium won funding from the Horizon2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Joint Doctorate scheme which is part of the Innovative Training Networks programme funded by the European Commission. Running from 2014 to 2020, the Horizon2020 research and innovation programme is making almost 80 billion Euros available to help stimulate research breakthroughs and discoveries in many research disciplines across Europe.

The MANNA consortium members include the University of Glasgow (Coordinator), whose IBACHM is one of the U.K.’s leading animal science establishments, the Universities of Milan, Bonn, Barcelona, Zagreb, Kosice, Liebnitz Institute, INRA, PortoConte Ricerche, Life Diagnostics, Acuvet Biotech, ABAgri, Evonik, BASF, RAFT Solutions, MetLabs, Nutrition Sciences and Sprim.

Enquiries: ali.howard@glasgow.ac.uk or elizabeth.mcmeekin@glasgow.ac.uk / 0141 330 6557 or 0141 330 4831

First published: 2 May 2018

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