Background to STAR-IDAZ
Members of the Global Strategic Alliances for the Coordination of Research on the Major Infectious Diseases of Animals and Zoonoses (STAR-IDAZ) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the relationship between the Parties (normally animal health research programme owners and funders and related global or regional bodies), representing the transformation of the EU-financed STAR-IDAZ Coordination and Support Action into a self-sustainable network.
The Aims of STAR-IDAZ are to:
• Strengthen the linkages between and reduce the duplication of global research effort on high priority infectious diseases of animals (including zoonoses) maximise the efficient use of expertise and resources and accelerate coordinated development of control methods.
• Identify and co-ordinate the response to gaps in research activities for targeted diseases.
• Create the necessary critical mass and capacity to address emerging infectious disease threats.
• Improve the cost–effectiveness and added value to network partners of current research programmes.
• Develop durable procedures for a better co-ordinated, rapid response to urgent research needs.
• Identify unique regions with localised diseases and improve access to research in those areas.
• Improve access to and the utility of research results across all partner organisations.
The scope of STAR-IDAZ includes co-ordination of research relevant to emerging and major infectious diseases of livestock, including fish and managed bees, and those infections of animals that may carry the risk of disease threat to human health. Diseases of wildlife will also be considered where they are identified as reservoirs of infection for emerging and major infectious diseases of humans or production animals.
STAR-IDAZ International Research Consortium (IRC)
Building on STAR-IDAZ, an International Research Consortium (IRC) of research funders and programme owners, aiming to maximise funding for coordinated animal health research, with a higher level of commitment was launched at an event hosted by the European Commission in Brussels on 27 January 2016. Documents relating to the STAR-IDAZ IRC can be found here.
The overall objective of the STAR-IDAZ IRC is to coordinate research at the international level to contribute to new and improved animal health strategies for at least 30 priority diseases/infections/issues.
The deliverables include:
• candidate vaccines, and/or
• diagnostics, and/or
• therapeutics and other animal health products, and/or
• procedures and/or
• key scientific information/tools to support risk analysis and disease control
The STAR-IDAZ IRC will be governed through an Executive Committee, a Scientific Committee and a variable number of working groups all supported by a secretariat (SIRCAH), the mandates of which can be viewed here. The organisational structure is illustrated below:
Partners who have joined, to date, the IRC include:
1. Danish National Veterinary Institute (DTU Vet), Denmark
2. National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA), France
3. The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), France
4. Ministry of Health, Italy
5. Ministry of Economic Affairs (MinEZ), The Netherlands
6. National Institute for Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (INIA), Spain
7. Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), UK
8. Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC), UK
9. Regional Consortium; Universiteit Gent (Ghent University), Université de Liège, the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment (unit Contractual Research) and CODA-CERVA (Veterinary and Agrochemical Research centre)
10. Kimron Veterinary Institute, Israel
11. International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Kenya
12. Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory Agency (TVLA), Tanzania
13. National Institute of Animal Health, National Agriculture and Food Research Organisation (NIAH), Japan
14. Agriculture Research services, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA ARS), US
15. National Institute of Agriculture Technology (INTA), Argentina
16. Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (MINCYT), Argentina
17. Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Canada
19. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
20. HealthforAnimals (Global Animal Medicines Association)
21. European Manufacturers of Veterinary Diagnostics (EMVD)
Joining the IRC
To join the STAR-IDAZ IRC Executive Committee, the programme owner/funding body, whether a member of STAR-IDAZ or not, should commit a minimum of $10 million USD over 5 years for future funding of research projects/programmes contributing towards STAR-IDAZ IRC objectives. If your organisation is unable to commit this level of funding alone it is possible to form a group, usually regional, and join that way. For further information please contact the STAR-IDAZ Project Manager, Luke Dalton in the first instance at Luke.Dalton@Defra.gsi.gov.uk.
IRC Executive Committee
The IRC Executive Committee is composed of one representative per funding body (including public funding bodies, charities and the animal health industry), or group of funders, OIE, the Chair of the Scientific Committee and the STAR-IDAZ Chairperson.
These individuals are nominated and appointed according to the following principals:
• Individual STAR-IDAZ IRC Programme Owners/Funding Bodies
To be considered as a member of the STAR-IDAZ IRC the programme owner/funding body, whether a member of STAR-IDAZ or not, should commit a minimum of $10 million over 5 years for future funding of research projects/programmes contributing towards STAR-IDAZ IRC objectives. Each funding body can nominate one representative to the Executive Committee. Previous investments since 1 January 2015 contributing to STAR-IDAZ IRC objectives should be disclosed to help enable networking of presently active research teams. In the interest of keeping the size of the Executive Committee manageable, countries with more than one committed programme owner/funding body may consider designating a single common representative. All membership requests must be sent in writing to the Chair of the Executive Committee, for approval by the Executive Committee.
• Groups of STAR-IDAZ Programme Owners/Funding bodies
Programme owners or funding organizations that would like to contribute to STAR-IDAZ IRC, but who cannot reach the minimum required investment for membership (such as public funders from a group of smaller countries in particular regions of the world) and/or provide funding for only a single priority disease/issue or a subgroup of priority diseases/issues, may form a group of funders that together reach the threshold for membership (i.e., $10 million US over a 5-year period). Each such group of funders can nominate one representative to the Executive Committee. Other configurations of group funders are also eligible.
• Stakeholders and representatives of advisory bodies
The Executive Committee may invite representatives of the livestock industries, animal health industry associations and other relevant international organisations to participate as non-voting members. These organisations should represent broad industry interests and geographical areas. Upon proposal from a member, the Executive Committee can decide to invite other observers to its meetings or representatives of organisations that may be given an advisory role such as regulatory bodies. Such invitations shall be done by the Chair in consultation with the members of the Executive Committee.
STAR-IDAZ IRC Executive Committee: Mandate
The STAR-IDAZ IRC Executive Committee:
• Agrees and adopts STAR-IDAZ IRC Governance, Policies and Guidelines, including decisions on the creation or closure of Working Groups
• Coordinates research funding strategies to address identified research priorities such as those identified by the Scientific Committee
• Advocacy – promotes support for STAR-IDAZ IRC objectives from the livestock and animal health industries and services and the wider donor community.
• Monitors progress and provides updates to funding bodies.
• Reviews nominations and accepts new members to the Scientific Committee
• Agrees on a Communication Strategy that ensures timely and correct dissemination regarding STAR-IDAZ IRC objectives and progress made
• Provides a forum for the resolution of any conflicts, should they arise.
Members of the Executive Committee may participate in meetings of any Working Group.
Scientific Committee: Composition
The Scientific Committee is composed of approximately 15 members with a balanced expertise and representation from academia, livestock and animal health industry, and risk assessment and regulatory bodies.
Scientific Committee members are appointed by the Executive Committee from a list of candidates nominated by:
• Funding bodies represented in the Executive Committee
• Industry organisations representing the livestock and animal health industries.
Scientific Committee: Mandate
The Scientific Committee:
• Considers the scientific merit of proposals from the Executive Committee and their possible implementation
• Acts as a scientific coordinating body
• Proposes research priorities for consideration by the Executive Committee (priorities assessment)
• Proposes policies and guidelines for adoption by the Executive Committee
• Identifies need for and proposes establishment of new Working Groups, or the closing of existing Working Groups
• Defines the missions of the Working Groups
• Supports Working Groups in organising gap analysis and research prioritisation activities in liaison with the IRC Secretariat.
• Assesses and reports to the Executive Committee on progress made by the Working Groups (i.e., projects funded)
• Addresses arising issues of a scientific nature
• Organises the scientific programme of STAR-IDAZ IRC conferences as they occur
• Encourages exchange of protocols and best practices, and agree on standard operating procedures, good research practice, roadmap to reach STAR-IDAZ IRC goals in their scientific area
• Promotes interactions between Workings Groups
Working Groups: Composition
The working groups are composed of experts within the scientific domain of the working group, including representatives from funded projects that contribute to STAR-IDAZ IRC, additional experts and representatives of livestock industries and other stakeholders that are nominated by the Executive Committee or the Scientific Committee. Composition of the working groups should have a geographically balanced representation.
Working Group: Mandate
The Working Groups:
• Map and report on major ongoing national, regional or international initiatives in its field of interest to maximize worldwide awareness of these projects.
• Point out the problems and difficulties in the scope of the WG that ultimately prevent or delay the development of new diagnostics, vaccines/therapies and/or key information/tools for risk analysis and disease control strategies (gap analysis)
• Recommend prioritised research objectives, actions or solutions to resolve gaps, problems and difficulties in the scope of the WG
• Cooperate to ensure synergies of all research projects within the scientific area of the working group, by exchanging results, expertise, experiences and information
• Agree on good research practice to be adopted (e.g. standard operational procedures, performance indicators) for animal health research
• Promote scientific excellence and enabling environment, including human resource development and capacity building
• Liaise with other working groups as appropriate
• Adopt and report back on the implementation of STAR-IDAZ IRC policies and guidelines in animal health research projects and propose changes where necessary
• Report to the Scientific Committee at least twice a year
• Working groups may organise in collaboration with the IRC secretariat, scientific conferences in their domain
Secretariat for the International Research Consortium on Animal Health (SIRCAH)
SIRCAH is funded by the European Commission through Horizon 2020 and is run by a partnership including Defra (UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), CAB International, BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council), and IFAH-Europe (European animal health industry).
The mandate of the IRC secretariat is to provide organisational and communication support to STAR-IDAZ IRC and its various members and thereby contribute to the IRC policies and guidelines aimed at coordinating research at international level to contribute to new and improved animal health strategies. The Secretariat also plays an important role in advovacy for the consortium and bringing in new members.
It supports the work of the STAR-IDAZ IRC by:
• Organizing meetings of the STAR-IDAZ IRC Executive Committee, Scientific Committee and working groups
• Maintaining the STAR-IDAZ website and databases and keeping all members updated
• Assuring secretarial work for STAR-IDAZ IRC
• Assisting the Scientific Committee and Working Groups in organising research gap analysis meetings and running periodic foresight exercises
• Conducting, upon request, the preparation of any document necessary to the STAR-IDAZ IRC committees and working groups, such as assisting bibliographic searches or literature reviews
• Collecting and diffusing pertinent information and results to the researchers funded by STAR-IDAZ IRC members
• Disseminating results of STAR-IDAZ IRC projects with different means of communication: website, newsletters, communication materials, conferences.