Animal health has become increasingly important and is inextricably linked to our local and global economy as well as societal issues such as public health, food and food security. The overlap in veterinary, human and ecological health sciences requires a collaborative research effort of multiple disciplines to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment.
The University of Pretoria (UP) launched its Institutional Research Theme (IRT) on Animal and Zoonotic Diseases (AZD) on Monday 28 October 2013. With these research themes, the University is consolidating its traditional research strengths by supporting the development of multidisciplinary IRTs. The themes are directed at fostering a more collaborative approach within the institution, as well as among other academic institutions, private enterprises and government.
The AZD-IRT will strengthen UP’s current research capacity in animal diseases. This includes diseases that spread from animals to humans (zoonoses). A total of 22 principal investigators across nine different departments in the Faculties of Veterinary Science, Natural and Agricultural Sciences as well as Health Sciences are involved. As the only university in South Africa with a Faculty of Veterinary Science, UP is uniquely placed to provide research capacity across the whole of the animal disease research chain and play a leading role in the control of animal and zoonotic diseases. The IRT can also make a major contribution to the recently established Tshwane Animal Health Biocluster.