Pirbright poultry disease scientist nominated for Newton Prize

Professor Venugopal Nair OBE (left) and Dr Zhiqiang Shen (right).

Professor Venugopal Nair OBE, poultry disease scientist and Head of the Viral Oncogenesis group at Pirbright is among the shortlisted nominees for the Newton Prize.

The award celebrates outstanding international research partnerships and the £1 million prize will be divided between four winning research projects.

Professor Nair is nominated along with Dr Zhiqiang Shen of the Shandong-Binzhou Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine Academy for the establishment of a Sino-British Centre for Research on Avian Diseases. The UK-China Centre of Excellence for Research on Avian Diseases (CERAD) promotes research for enhancing sustainable growth of the poultry industry by preventing major diseases that cause significant economic losses and animal welfare issues.

CERAD provides state of the art research and training for UK and Chinese scientists and students through joint research projects, exchange visits for training and education on new technologies for disease control as well as organising international conferences.

The projects shortlisted for the 2019 Newton Prize were peer reviewed and will now be judged by the Newton Prize committee. Three prizes of up to £200,000 each will be awarded to three projects that demonstrate high quality research and impact and an additional prize (the Chair’s Award) of up to £500,000 will be awarded for a project that also demonstrates the best knowledge exchange and partnership development.

During November 2019 the shortlisted projects will be celebrated at award events taking place in China, Indonesia and the Philippines where the winning project for that country will be announced. These events will be followed by a UK reception on 9 December 2019 in London hosted by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Prof Venu Nair said: “I am very honoured that our project has been shortlisted. The Newton Fund acts as a catalyst for international research collaborations and this funding was vital to the success of CERAD”.

Source: The Pirbright Institute