02 Oct 2017
The Royal Veterinary College joins forces with JUST to build biosecurity infrastructure in the Middle East

The Royal Veterinary College joins forces with JUST to build biosecurity infrastructure in the Middle East


The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is working closely with the British Government and counterparts in Jordan to build public health and biosecurity infrastructure in the Middle East. As part of this effort, since 2015 the RVC has twinned with a leading institution in the region, the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST). Together they are spearheading research into some of the major health risks currently facing the Middle East, including Brucellosis and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), both of which affect several thousand people in the region.

Funded by the British Government's International Biological Security programme, through the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), this partnership has served to share best practice in veterinary public health between Europe and the Middle East, and build capacity in terms of undergraduate and postgraduate education in veterinary medicine, scientific research and disease control. Crucially, it seeks to promote concepts of bio-threat awareness and reduction, and to spread a culture of ethical science by building improved capacity for biosecurity, modern diagnostics, and disease surveillance. It will also enhance capability for research on endemic and emerging diseases, support innovative academic practice and provide advice and guidance for JUST's aspirations to gain accreditation from EAEVE.

As a key part of this partnership, leading figures at the RVC this week joined a British delegation to Jordan where they were able to visit the main campus of JUST. This presented the opportunity for the RVC Principal Stuart Reid to meet his counterpart, Professor Omar Al-Jarrah, President of the JUST – and to reaffirm their strong commitment to this lasting partnership.

As part of the twinning, a cohort of 10 postgraduate students (5 JUST students and 5 RVC students) are conducting their MSc/MRs projects on complementary topics of relevance to Jordan. Research topics include major emerging issues such as antimicrobial resistance, scanning surveillance for livestock diseases and spatial modelling of leishmaniasis, a neglected vector-borne disease. 

President of JUST, Professor Omar AL-Jarrah, said: "The RVC and JUST twinning program is a great example of a successful collaborative international partnership between Jordan and the UK. This partnership aligns with the strategic goals of JUST in achieving effective international collaboration with world class higher education institutions such The Royal Veterinary College in London.

Professor Javier Guitian, RVC Principle Investigator and Co-Project Lead, said: "It has been gratifying to see the difference this programme has made to students at JUST, and to celebrate the outstanding work of the distinguished scholar Zain Shaheen.

"This collaboration is set to have a significant impact on disease control in Jordan and throughout the Middle East, and we have been delighted to see the significant advances made."

Professor Stuart Reid, RVC Principal, said: "This was a very fruitful and rewarding trip. It was valuable for us to meet with our counterparts in Jordan and I'm delighted we were able to re-affirm the commitment of both the RVC and JUST to this important cooperative work going forward.

"I would like to thank the Jordanian government, our hosts at JUST and all involved for their hospitality and collaborative insights"