Photo by Terry Mwenda. Copyright ILRI

University of Edinburgh and the International Livestock Research Institute launch strategic alliance with Jameel Observatory at its heart

Nairobi, Kenya

Community Jameel congratulates the University of Edinburgh and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), a CGIAR centre, on renewing their memorandum of understanding, strengthening their decades-long partnership to further advance collaboration in livestock systems research. This strategic alliance, announced at ILRI's Nairobi campus on 29 November 2023, underscores a shared commitment to deepen the positive impact of livestock research on people and the environment.

Building on a history of groundbreaking research, this renewed collaboration sets forth ambitious objectives aimed at transforming food systems and enhancing sustainable livestock production. Key focus areas of this joint venture include One Health and infectious diseases, food systems transformation, genetic improvement and sustainable livestock production.

The alliance also prioritises nurturing future talent and building essential infrastructure, particularly in Africa. This includes fostering career development opportunities, offering studentships and facilitating exchange visits, all designed to share expertise and optimise resources. These initiatives are poised to not only advance scientific understanding but also to create real-world impact, bridging the gap between research and practice.

Two years ago, the University of Edinburgh and ILRI partnered with Community Jameel, Save the Children and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab to establish the Jameel Observatory for Food Security Early Action, housed on ILRI’s campus, to better prepare for and act on environmental shocks as well as those impacts of climate change and variability that threaten human and environmental well-being. The alliance will further focus on positioning the Jameel Observatory as the key centre within the CGIAR helping to strengthen early warning systems across east Africa.

Elsa Murano, chair of the ILRI board of trustees, said: “Livestock is the fastest growing sector in agriculture, and it is essential that its growth is sustainable and equitable. 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.”

Bruce Whitelaw, chair of animal biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh, said: “I welcome this latest chapter in our ongoing partnership with ILRI and look forward to building on our joint successes to date. I am hopeful that the synergies between these two research facilities can help solve some of the most important challenges of our time.”

The University of Edinburgh and ILRI's commitment to this alliance signals a new era in addressing the challenges faced by food systems and sustainable livestock development. By harnessing their combined expertise and resources, this partnership is set to make significant strides in research and innovation for global benefit.

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