British High Commissioner to Kenya visits the International Livestock Research Institute

Nic Hailey visit to ILRI
Director General Jimmy Smith (4th from right) thanks Nic Hailey, British High Commissioner to Kenya (4th from left), who led a delegation from the British High Commission in Nairobi on a visit to ILRI. Photo: Twitter/SusanMacMillan

The British High Commissioner to Kenya, His Excellency Mr Nic Hailey, made a courtesy visit to the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) on Tuesday, 31 July 2018.

The visit to ILRI is part of the High Commissioner’s initiative to visit various research institutions to understand the science and research landscape in Kenya. Mr Hailey is particularly keen to visit the leading research institutions in the country, ILRI being one of them.

ILRI is one of 15 CGIAR research centres and the only one dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. CGIAR is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food-secured future.

ILRI is co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia and has regional or country offices/labs in 14 other locations in Africa and East, South and South-East Asia. The institute works through extensive partnership arrangements with research and development institutions in both the developed and developing parts of the world.

ILRI’s research for development agenda covers a range of areas from laboratory-based biosciences to field-based research. The topics covered include animal productivity (health, genetics and feeds); food safety and zoonoses; livestock and the environment; and policies, institutions and livelihoods. Capacity development is an important part of the institute’s mandate and cuts across all its research and development areas.

There has been a long, consistent and highly productive engagement between research institutions and funding bodies in the United Kingdom and ILRI and its two predecessors, the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD), which started operations in 1973 in Nairobi, and the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), which began in 1974 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The rich history of UK-ILRI collaborations includes some of the finest UK research institutions, such as: the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Exeter, Nottingham, Oxford, Nottingham and Reading; the Genome Analysis Centre, Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed), International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Institute of Development Studies (IDS), John Innes Centre, Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Oxford Centre for Human Genetics, Roslin Institute, Royal Veterinary College (RVC), Sanger Centre, Scotland’s Rural college (SRUC), University College London, and Wellcome Trust.

One of ILRI’s current important strategic alliances with the UK is the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH), a partnership among the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland’s Rural College and ILRI to generate and advance use of scientific knowledge in dairy genomics, poultry genomics, livestock health genetics, reproductive technologies, and informatics to improve the health and productivity of farmed animals in the tropics.

Between 2010 and 2017, ILRI received UK funding for 14 projects with a total value of £8.7 million. At present, 12 projects are on-going, with a total value of nearly £23 million.

From 2017 to 2018, 15 staff members and 9 graduate students from the UK have worked at ILRI.

Iain Wright, ILRI’s deputy director general for research and development–integrated sciences, said ‘We were delighted to receive the high commissioner and his staff and show some of the research we are conducting to improve the lives of the millions of people in Kenya, and the hundreds of millions in developing countries worldwide,  who depend on livestock for their livelihoods. As a UK national, I am proud of the strong links between ILRI and UK research institutions and of the long history of investment by the UK Government in our work.

For those interested, here are three recent slide presentations that ILRI Director General Jimmy Smith has made in the UK: