EPIC Conference 2019

The 2019 EPIC Conference was held at the John McIntyre Conference Centre in Edinburgh on the 17th and 18th of September.

With over 140 attendees from Scottish Government, industry and research institutes, the event provided a great opportunity for sharing ideas, collaborating and networking.

The conference was opened by Mairi Gougeon MSP, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, who spoke about the valuable work EPIC contributes to animal disease preparedness in Scotland, the centre of expertise model and the potential challenges we may face going forward.

In addition to some excellent presentations from the EPIC team, we welcomed speakers from across research, government and industry. Andrew Millar, Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland kicked off our Science session with his talk on modelling from genomes to traits and back using open research. Shelia Voas, Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland led our Policy and Governance session with her presentation on '3 B's and a P' (Brexit, Biscuits, Badgers and Policy making). Charlie Adam, VP of NFU Scotland was our keynote speaker for Meeting Industry Demands and spoke about the importance of research generating practical outcomes.

Our panel session on day one welcomed Dominic Mellor, Director of EPIC, Sarah O'Brien, University of Liverpool, Bob Ferrier, Director of CREW, Deb Roberts, Director of ClimateXChange, Fiona Burnett, Director of the Plant Health Centre and Hans Houe, University of Copenhagen. Following brief presentations from each of the panelists, the discussion focused on knowledge sharing, working together and building relationships.

On day two we opened with a talk from Christos Lynteris from the University of St Andrews. Christos looked at culture and how animals have been associated through history with disease epidemics, focusing on rats. Dominic Moran from the University of Edinburgh spoke about reconciling livestock with sustainable planetary health, looking at the challenges of managing systems and their impacts. Our final session was led by Vittoria Colizza from the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research. Vittoria led us through some of her experiences of big data and international collaboration and looked at some of the key challenges facing us in the future.

A main focus of the EPIC Conference is to share our research and outputs with government, industry and key stakeholders. Our EPIC team addressed a number of areas around their current research, and we have shared their posters below.

Conversations at the event and on Twitter were lively, with a number of challenging issues tackled by the diverse audience. We look forward to seeing some new collaborative projects coming from some of the discussions.

EPIC Conference 2019 Posters

Environmental risk factors for Louping Ill virus among sheep farms in Scotland (research under review Sep 2019)

Modelling disease spread when the host distribution is unknown, with an application to African Swine Fever



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