Our research aims to provide a detailed understanding of the biology driving disease persistence, prevalence, and spread, and explores how the biology scales up from individuals to populations, in plants, animals and humans. It explains how this interacts with behaviours, practices, and policies to help determine the patterns of infection seen in host communities and the efficacy of disease control strategies.

Much of our research takes a systems-approach to frame disease challenges and problem-solve disease risk at a range of scales – from farmers, veterinarians and agronomists tackling specific disease challenges to the global grand challenges of disease control, climate change, food security and antimicrobial resistance.

Our research provides an evidence base to all stakeholders involved with the farming industries. This is exemplified through our participation in the Scottish Government’s Centres of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks (EPIC) and Plant Health.

We support livestock industry health schemes including providing administrative and analytical support for Scottish and Great Britain pig health schemes and research that support UK cattle health schemes. We also focus on the coupling of social sciences, including animal health economics, and population medicine to explore the drivers and barriers to uptake of emerging new disease control measures.

Research areas

  • Understanding the biology and epidemiology of major pathogens of barley, wheat, oilseed rape and potato
  • Understanding and exploiting knowledge of resistance of the host plant to pathogen and pests with a view to practical exploitation
  • Alternatives to conventional pesticides for disease and pest control
  • Crop loss assessment and plant disease management decision-making and developing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies in order to reduce reliance on fungicides and insecticides in arable farming systems
  • Evaluating and improving animal disease surveillance systems
  • Measuring and monitoring disease to enhance livestock health
  • Assessing the prevalence of and risk factors for gill disease on Scottish salmon, and evaluating interventions to reduce its impact
  • Investigating the epidemiology of ticks and Lyme disease in Scotland

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Research services

Our work addresses health and productivity in animals, animal welfare and crops, promotes low carbon farming and increases farm output through efficiency and innovation.

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Vet & laboratory services

Our leading experts provide support to clients in areas animal disease, diagnosis and surveillance.

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SAC Consulting

Our consultants in 25 offices across Scotland and northern England turn research into advice and advantage for business and public sector alike.

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