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The Pirbright Institute, UK and Shandong Binzhou Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine Academy, China

On 11 April 2015 a new joint China-United Kingdom International Centre for Research on Avian Diseases was officially opened at a ceremony in Binzhou, China.

The joint centre has bought the Avian Viral Diseases (AVD) programme at The Pirbright Institute and the Shandong Binzhou Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine Academy in China together to create a virtual Research Institute with state-of-the-art laboratory capability for avian disease research for scientists from academic institutes in both countries.

The poultry industry is a fast developing sector playing a crucial role in global food security. The UK poultry industry contributes to approximately £3.4 billion of the goods and services provided in the country. The poultry sector in China has shown tremendous growth producing around 7 billion broilers and 1.5 billion layers. Sustained growth in this sector in both countries is hampered by continued challenges from a large number of avian diseases. A five year grant funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Newton Funds will enable scientists to carry out fundamental and applied research in improving poultry health in both countries.

The joint centre was inaugurated in Binzhou, China by Professor Venugopal Nair of The Pirbright Institute, Professor Zhiqiang Shen, Director of the Binzhou Academy and Li Weidong, Vice Mayor of the Binzhou City.

An international symposium on ‘Recent advances in avian disease research’ was held as part of the inauguration of the new research centre. Co-organised by The Pirbright Institute and the Binzhou Academy the symposium was held on 11 – 12 April 2015 at the Binzhou Lvdu Hotel, Binzhou, China. Over 100 scientists from the UK and China attended, and discussions were led on topics including: molecular evolution and epidemiology of avian pathogens, host‐pathogen interactions, immune response, and new trends in the development of vaccines and diagnostics against avian diseases.

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