Brennan Lab awarded large Public Engagement grant from Wellcome

The “What makes viruses tick?” project led by the Brennan Lab has received funding from the ScotPEN Wellcome Engagement Award to continue to raise awareness of ticks & tick-borne diseases across Scotland, empowering people to make informed decisions about accessing the outdoors.

This project is a continuation of a successful pilot project funded by the MRC Public Engagement Seed Fund, where the team developed a citizen science platform where members of the public could report tick ‘sightings and bitings’ to be added to their interactive Tick Map.

Map of scotland showing over 200 submissions of where people and animals have been bitten by ticks

Over 200 people submitted tick sightings and bitings in the first phase of the project which are seen on this map. Each colour pin corresponds to what the tick was removed from: Green = Adult, Red = Child, Pink = Dog, Blue = Cat, Brown = Wildlife, Yellow = Sighting (not bitten). 



The next phase of the project has three key work packages:

1. Working with The Conservation Volunteers Scotland (TCV) to co-design a citizen science platform building on and automating their Tick Map where people can report sightings and bitings.

2. Engaging people who access the outdoors across Scotland with ticks and tick-borne disease by developing their network of outdoor organisations, local authorities, charities and health boards.

3. Identifying and engaging with community groups in the Outer Hebrides who are most at risk from current and emerging Tick Borne Diseases.


As well as the 3 work packages they will also work with TCV to upskill volunteer groups to help the research team with field work to collect ticks to supplement lab colonies. Furthermore, they will continue to develop their suite of resources about ticks, viruses and other diseases which will be available to download and share for free.

To deliver this next phase of the project they will be working closely with partners The Conservation Volunteers, Professor Roman Biek (UofGlasgow Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine), NHS Highland and independent citizen science consultant Dr Hannah Grist.

First published: 21 January 2022

<< News