The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has been awarded a £7 million grant by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership to support the creation of a state-of-the-art Veterinary Vaccinology and Cell Therapy Hub on its Hawkshead campus.
The hub will bring together top veterinary and human medical science researchers to advance the “One Health” approach. The work conducted at this facility, in Brookmans Park, will accelerate the development of next-generation vaccines and cell therapies that will fight key animal infections and ultimately protect humans.
Livestock, and in particular cattle, pigs and poultry, will be the main focus of the hub because they are the species that provide much of our animal-derived dietary protein. These animals are intensively reared to meet the global demand and as a result, they are increasingly susceptible to infections, hence the need for the development of effective vaccines. The hub’s facilities will support the use of large animal models in vaccine development to create species-specific immunological tools or reagents, replacing the more common use of mice to formulate vaccines for livestock.
Due to open in the summer of 2020, the hub will contain specialist facilities, such as laboratories, housing for animals and an incubator for small businesses, and is part of a multi-million-pound redevelopment plan for the RVC’s Hawkshead campus.
Hertfordshire LEP awarded £7 million from the Single Local Growth Fund for the venture.
Welcoming the announcement of the award, Professor Stuart Reid, Principal of the RVC, said:
“We are delighted to have secured such a significant grant from Hertfordshire LEP. It will make a huge difference to what we can achieve in the next phase of development of our Hawkshead Campus, supporting the College’s research mission to contribute globally in a One Health context to some of the most significant challenges facing society.”
Professor Jonathan Elliott, Vice Principal for Research and Innovation of the RVC, said:
“This is an exciting development for the RVC which will impact of its future success as a research-led higher education institute. With the support of Hertfordshire LEP, the RVC will be able to create a hub of research activity in this region that brings together academia and business to develop new vaccines, diagnostic tools and cell therapies.”