EPIC centre of expertise in animal disease outbreaks


Researchers from across the College are involved in a strategic science advisory role to the Scottish Government together with partner Institutions across Scotland as part of EPIC Centre of Expertise in Animal Disease Outbreaks. The Glasgow contribution, led by Profs Dominic Mellor (School of Veterinary Medicine) and Rowland Kao (Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine).

EPIC brings together a substantial body of epidemiological expertise to address the risks of, and response to, animal disease outbreaks. The basis of this, and a previous programme, is the provision of epidemiological advice to support Scottish Government policy decisions about all aspects of animal disease management and control.

A close working relationship with the farming, food and other rural industries has been a vital component of the programme, with representatives of these comprising part of the project’s steering group, and regular KE through industry stakeholder groups forming an essential communication pathway for industry focussed research questions and their answers. Much of the work is dedicated to epidemiological modelling of infectious disease transmission, and of potential alternative control options, including their economic impact.

Scenario planning exercises have engaged broad-based stakeholder groups to consider alternative long term futures for Scottish cattle and sheep industries under different conditions of, among other things, technological development and adoption. Such exercises offer valuable insights into potential future drivers for disease spread that can be accounted for and mitigated against. In addition to their direct outputs, these inclusive discussions have taught all participants a great deal about working at the science/industry/policy interface.

First published: 17 December 2014