In a bid to elevate their joint efforts in livestock systems research, the University of Edinburgh and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) on Wednesday solidified their longstanding partnership.
This momentous renewal of their Memorandum of Understanding, unveiled at ILRI’s Nairobi Campus in Kenya signifies an intensified commitment to leveraging their expertise for greater positive impacts on both communities and environments in the Global South.
The collaborative vision outlined in this renewed partnership aims at catalyzing revolutionary changes in food systems and fortifying sustainable livestock production.
Anchored on a legacy of pioneering research, this alliance prioritizes key domains, including One Health and Infectious Diseases, Food Systems Transformation, Genetic Improvement, and Sustainable Livestock Production.
Elsa Murano, Chair of the ILRI Board of Trustees, underscored the enduring significance of livestock in agriculture, stressing the necessity for sustainable growth. Murano praised the longstanding collaboration between the research teams at ILRI and the University of Edinburgh, acknowledging their pivotal role in enhancing livestock systems and animal productivity in low- and middle-income nations.
The research teams at ILRI and the University of Edinburgh have worked together for decades and have been at the forefront of efforts to improve livestock systems and animal productivity for low- and middle-income countries. We are delighted to renew this collaboration and anticipate many more years of successful teamwork.
Beyond research objectives, the partnership places emphasis on nurturing budding talents and bolstering critical infrastructure, particularly in Africa.
This encompasses fostering career progression, providing educational opportunities for students, and facilitating reciprocal visits to share knowledge and optimize available resources.
These initiatives not only aim to advance scientific understanding but also intend to bridge the gap between research findings and their practical applications, ensuring tangible real-world impacts.
Highlighting a specific initiative, ILRI and the Centre For Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH) have identified local breeds and forage varieties resilient to heat stress and emitting fewer greenhouse gases, addressing the dual challenges faced by dairy cows.
Moreover, the alliance between the University of Edinburgh and ILRI, along with partners like Community Jameel, Save the Children, and J-PAL, established the Jameel Observatory for Food Security Early Action.
Positioned within ILRI’s campus, this observatory anticipates and responds to environmental shocks and climate change impacts threatening human and environmental well-being. The alliance’s future focus includes strengthening the Jameel Observatory as a pivotal center within CGIAR, enhancing early warning systems across East Africa.
Bruce Whitelaw, Chair of Animal Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh, expressed delight in the partnership’s renewal, envisioning continued success built upon past achievements.
Whitelaw emphasized the symbiotic relationship between the institutions, notably referencing the recent appointment of Appolinaire Djikeng, formerly associated with the University of Edinburgh and now ILRI’s Director General.
“I am hopeful that the synergies between these two research facilities can help solve some of the most important challenges of our time.”
Professor Djikeng’s continued affiliation with the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh stands as a testament to fortifying the partnership between ILRI and the CGIAR system.
This renewed commitment between the University of Edinburgh and ILRI signifies a pioneering era in addressing the complexities of food systems and sustainable livestock development. By pooling their collective expertise and resources, this partnership is poised to carve substantial paths in research and innovation for global welfare.