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Bovine mastitis research network gets $6.9M in support


Saint-Hyacinthe, QC – The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) is providing $6.9 million in new funding to support the Canadian Bovine Mastitis Research Network, headquartered at the Faculte de medecine veterinaire of the Universite de Montreal.

Mastitis costs farmers as much as $300 million to $400 million annually, a significant loss given that total net farm dairy receipts were $4.8 billion in 2005. The network’s multidisciplinary research program brings together the expertise and resources of more than 40 leading scientists in Canada and abroad who will collaborate closely with other dairy industry professionals and the animal-health biotechnology industry to carry out research and transfer the resulting knowledge and technology back to farmers.

Over the next five years, the network will conduct research oriented towards dairy producers’ priorities. Novel tools and strategies for monitoring and controlling mastitis will be developed. Collaboration among researchers will be streamlined thanks to an integrated data collection and archiving program that also links to dairy producers. More than 65 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduate students are expected to benefit from their association with the network.

“Working with dairy farmers at several different stages of our research on mastitis is a key factor in the success of this network,” explains Dr Daniel Scholl, the network’s director. “This cooperation allows for increased knowledge sharing which is to the benefit of everyone involved.”

A significant strength of this network is the large number of collaborating partners. Various associations representing dairy farmers – including the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Dairy Network, and provincial dairy farmer associations from Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Alberta – will provide more than $1 million. Pfizer Animal Health is also providing additional financing, and the Universite de Montreal is providing funds and facilities support.

The Canadian Bovine Mastitis Research Network is one of 18 networks that NSERC supports through its strategic network grants program. The program funds large-scale, complex research proposals that involve multisectoral collaborations in targeted areas.