UKRI-Defra One Health Approach to Vector Borne Diseases

Closing Date: 27/10/2022

Funding available to forecast, understand, mitigate and avoid vector (arthropod) borne disease (VBD) threats to the UK.

This aim of this joint UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Defra investment is to 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 and consists of the following 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

This includes:

  • 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)

This includes:

  • 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

This includes:

  • developing vector control and disease management strategies
  • understanding ecological solutions to managing the risk of VBD transmission.

Interactions between pathogens, vectors, animals and humans

This includes:

  • 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.

Projects will have a duration of up to three years.

Funding body Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Maximum value Discretionary
Reference ID S24038
Category Medical Research
Fund or call Fund