Linking Epidemiology and Laboratory Research on Transboundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses in EU and China
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LinkTADs workshop to develop research projects on the top-8 animal diseases in China

On 9-10 April 2015, a workshop was organized by CAHEC in Qingdao, China, with the main objective to develop new research projects that will fill the main knowledge gaps on the top emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) and transboundary animal diseases (TADs). Eight diseases were identified as priorities by LinkTADs partners in both the EU and China: avian influenza (AI), bovine tuberculosis (bTB), classical swine fever (CSF), African swine fever (ASF), antimicrobial resistance (AMR), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), Japanese encephalytis (JE) and peste des petits ruminants (PPR).

The 2-day meeting was structured as a highly interactive workshop, with all the time dedicated to develop the framework of research project proposals targeting the eight priority diseases. Discussions took place in parallel in two separate meeting rooms (four disease discussions each), where participants chose which session to attend according to their interests. Each disease/session started with a 20-minute introductory presentation covering the disease background, its epidemiological situation in EU and China, the current research, prevention and control programs, and the main gaps that need be addressed. The discussion session that followed used participative methods to lead participants through the identification of potential research topics; its grouping under a small number of research objectives; the ranking of these objectives (by proportionate piling) according to their perceived importance; the definition of the activities and steps needed to complete each selected objective; and the identification of all relevant partners (including potential external partners); and grants that could be targeted to fund these projects.

The summary of the discussion sessions were presented to the bigger group, where it was clarified who (i.e. person/institution) will take the proposal to the next step, i.e. preparing a 2-3 page concept note that can be shared with partners for comments.

Overall, the workshop was highly valued by participants. It was seen as one of the most important events under LinkTADs, since it will lead to the identification of projects where partners can collaborate beyond the life-span of LinkTADs, addressing the major research gaps.