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Edinburgh’s life sciences expertise attracts One Health congress

Edinburgh’s position as one of the world’s leading hubs for medical and health expertise has been reinforced with the city awarded hosting rights for the 6th World One Health Congress in 2020.

One Health is an international movement that aims to attain optimal health and well-being for people, domestic animals, wildlife and the environment, by bringing together various disciplines to make a difference to society and the lives of people. It aims to enhance understanding of and preparedness for current and future outbreaks of infectious diseases in humans and animals, such as Ebola, including the ecological and environmental factors which impact on these diseases.

The conference is a major win for the Scottish capital’s medical and veterinary community. More than 2,000 international health scientists and professionals, opinion leaders and policy makers will attend the four-day event at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), presenting the opportunity to showcase Scotland’s sector expertise and resource to a worldwide audience. Scotland’s strong Higher Education sector continues to deliver world-class research, which is helping to deliver solutions to global challenges within livestock industries and both veterinary and human medicine.

Professor Anna Meredith and Dr Neil Anderson at the University of Edinburgh were key members of the bid team. Professor Meredith said: “As a global facing university, we have vibrant One Health and global health partnerships nationally and internationally, and we look forward to showcasing the work of Scotland’s world-leading collective of research institutes, and engaging with other stakeholders to improve the health of people, animals and the environment.”

Dr Anderson, Programme Director MSc One Health and MVetSci Conservation at the University of Edinburgh, added: “The implementation of One Health requires a paradigm shift in how we manage the health of people, animals, plants and the ecosystems which support them. The conference will provide an ideal platform to discuss the practical implementation of One Health across the research, policy and practice arenas.”

The conference highlights the strengths of Edinburgh’s vibrant Life Sciences sector. The Scottish Government, who supported Convention Edinburgh on the bid, is at the forefront in developing integrated policies spanning health, agriculture, food, and environment.

John Swinney MSP Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, added: “Scotland and Edinburgh have a long-standing track record for excellence and innovation in research and development on animal and human health and well-being. Hosting the 6th World One Health Congress in 2020 will help further our reputation as a global leader in medicine, animal health, technology and the life sciences and will put Scotland and Edinburgh firmly at the heart of policy and research development in this key issue.”

Featured image: Dr Neil Anderson examining a red deer under anaesthesia as part of a long-term research project on the evolutionary biology of red deer on Isle of Rum