This joint UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Defra investment will support multidisciplinary and multi-institutional strategic, collaborative research focused on a One Health approach to vector (arthropod) borne diseases (VBD) research in a changing world.
This opportunity is an early action to deliver UKRI’s strategic theme of tackling infections.
Areas of focus
This programme has two components.
Consortia research grants
Each multidisciplinary (combining veterinary sciences, environmental, mathematics, medical science or social science) and multi-institutional consortium will include relevant key actors who will take a One Health approach.
The aim is to conduct research on important vectors and associated VBD that are a threat to the UK in response to climatic, environmental and land-use changes.
The key research areas of focus include, for example:
- vector and pathogen surveillance and epidemiology
- modelling and prediction of vector range and disease transmission
- vector biology (including vector competence and ecology)
- interactions between pathogens, vectors, animals and humans
- vector control tools.
Each grant is expected to:
- support multidisciplinary research to enable forecasting, understanding, mitigating and avoiding VBD threat in the UK, in response to climate, environmental and land-use changes both now and in the future
- take a One Health approach in VBD research that encompasses both multidisciplinary research and policy.
Vector and pathogen surveillance, epidemiology, modelling and prediction of vector range and disease transmission
- understanding drivers (such as ecological, agro-ecological, climatic) of VBD incursion and transmission in the UK
- developing surveillance tools and frameworks for early warning of vectors and pathogens
- developing novel approaches to model effects of climate and environmental change to predict re-emergence and spread of VBDs
- understanding how human, biological and environmental drivers, including climate, environmental and land-use change, may affect vectors and how vectors may respond in both short and evolutionary timescales
- exploring the relationship between climatic, socio-economic, and demographic factors, along with variations in disease risk in space and time, to understand the risk of transmission
- raising awareness of VBDs and their diagnosis and control among clinicians, veterinarians and the general public.
Vector biology (including vector competence and ecology)
- enhancing understanding of vector biology and ecology, including competency, transmission dynamics and emerging drug resistance against vectors and pathogens
- developing and evaluating new tools, technologies and approaches for detecting vectors, reservoirs and diseases.
Vector control tools
- developing vector control and disease management strategies
- understanding ecological solutions to managing the risk of VBD transmission.
Interactions between pathogens, vectors, animals and humans
- understanding of viraemia, bacteremia and parasite load in vector, animal and human hosts
- enhancing understanding of transmission dynamics between environment, vector and hosts
- vector host preference.
VBD data hub
The aim of the proposed VBD data hub will be to develop shared data infrastructure that brings together, and, where suitable, links data on:
- veterinary and public health surveillance of vectors and pathogens
- outputs from models and predictions
- vector biology and ecology (including vector habitats and competency)
- social and behavioural factors
- vector control tools
- associated climatic and environmental data.
To ensure transfer of knowledge within the UK and internationally, all data and results generated through this research opportunity will be hosted by the VBD hub. This will be a key resource for the VBD community and policymakers to ensure UK preparedness.
We anticipate enhanced preparedness for VBDs of animals and humans in the UK. This is through:
- identification of UK vectors and reservoirs, enabling mapping of UK vectors and reservoirs by prevalence, vector competency and preference
- development and evaluation of new tools, technologies and approaches for detecting vectors and reservoirs and diagnosing diseases within them
- vector control tools
- disease management strategies including diagnostics and vaccines
- research and associated infrastructure that bring together veterinary and public health data to allow for joined up approaches for responding to VBD outbreaks
- shared medical and veterinary vision within VBD preparedness planning
- developing strong links between higher education institutes, government agencies and institutes
- enabling research that informs policy.
We expect the impact of this investment to be enhanced preparedness for future outbreaks of VBD in the UK, through:
- a coordinated One Health vector and VBD research that helps inform policy
- building more substantive collaborative research projects to consolidate and augment UK capacity and capability in vector biology and VBD of animals and humans. This will ensure that the UK is better able to prepare and respond to future VBD threats
- stronger links between academic researchers, public and veterinary health VBD experts and policymakers to provide evidence to inform risk assessment and risk management and improve translation of scientific evidence to inform policy as well as risk communication
- a more cohesive transdisciplinary One Health research and innovation community representing the full span of the vector research landscape including biological, epidemiological, medical sciences and environmental fields.
The full economic cost of your project can be up to:
- £1,250,000 if applying for a research consortia grant
- £625,000 if applying to develop a data hub.
BBSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.
Read the BBSRC research grants guide.
A project partner provides a substantial intellectual contribution to the project, and their organisation may also provide resources either in-kind or financially.
It is envisaged that a substantial in-kind contribution will be made by participating organisations matching up to the level of investment from funders.
This contribution could involve access to resources or infrastructure, such as the use of insectaries, or contribution from industry.
Research consortia grants
The funders aim to support up to four or five consortia. Each consortium can apply for funding up to £1.25 million at 100% full economic cost.
VBD data hub
The funders aim to support one data hub. You can apply for funding up to £625,000 at 100% full economic cost.
Projects will have a duration of up to three years.