New HBLB Equine Science Research, Education Awards in 2017

New HBLB Equine Science Research, Education Awards in 2017

Photo: Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB), in the United Kingdom, has announced that its veterinary science and education investment program for 2017 will include:

  • Three major research projects;
  • Three small research projects;
  • Two scholarships;
  • One equine post-doctoral fellowship; and
  • Two infectious disease programs.

In addition to the allocation approved by HBLB of £1.55m (2016: £1.55m), the U.K.’s Racing Foundation has again decided to inject new funding into veterinary scientific research, providing £227,000 towards the three major projects beginning this year.

The HBLB’s Veterinary Advisory Committee (VAC) will continue to manage ongoing projects and educational awards being supported by the Racing Foundation, the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA), and the British division of the European Breeders Fund(BEBF). In addition, both the TBA and Racehorse Owners Association contribute towards the Equine Infectious Disease Service.

“Maintaining racing’s investment in veterinary research and education is absolutely essential for the health and wellbeing of our horses,” said Sandy Love, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS, chair of the HBLB VAC. “In selecting the projects and scholarships to recommend for funding, the HBLB’s VAC has two paramount principles: the chosen work has to be scientifically robust and clearly relevant to the racing, breeding and rearing of Thoroughbreds. The quality of applications was as always highly impressive and the choice was difficult. The VAC is delighted that, with the support of the Racing Foundation, some very promising work in a range of key areas will be able to start in 2017.

“Further, we are pleased to announce a new application round, for awards to start in 2018,” she added. “Usually this process would begin in February, but the introduction of reforms to the Levy in April 2017 pushed back the launch.”

Find additional information about the 2017 application round below.

Rob Hezel, chief executive of The Racing Foundation, added, “This year, the Racing Foundation will be involved with each of the three new major projects. All three are highly relevant to the Thoroughbred.The objectives include the identification of novel, non-surgical techniques for preventing and/or mitigating breathing problems; the development of a device to evaluate racehorse shoes objectively and effectively, taking into account individual characteristics and the surface to be raced on; and, of vital importance to the breeding industry, investigation of potential new treatments and/or vaccines to counter Rhodococcus equi.

“The Foundation is very happy to work with the VAC,” he added. “Its expertise, professionalism and breadth of responsibility are greatly valued."

All grant applications are assessed by the VAC and by external experts in accordance with the established procedure before being discussed with the Foundation, the BEBF, and TBA. The VAC benefits, too, from the advice of the British Horseracing Authority’s Veterinary Committee in selecting projects for funding.

In addition to the projects referenced in the Racing Foundation quotation, examples of the areas being covered by work starting this year are:

  • The impact of hepaciviruses;
  • Injury risk factors in jump racing;
  • Alternative treatments for R. equi and pneumonia in foals;
  • New imaging techniques for cardiovascular assessment;
  • Causes and differentiation of types of pulmonary hemorrhage; and
  • Exercise physiology and musculoskeletal development.

The Horserace Betting Levy Board’s purpose is to assess and collect monetary contributions from bookmakers via a levy, which it distributes for the improvement of horse racing and breeds of horses, and for the advancement of veterinary science and education.


2017 Application Round

The HBLB is inviting applications for equine veterinary research and education awards to start in 2018. Because the process is beginning later than usual, the timetables are compressed. The VAC has prioritized the time allocated for the development of applications.

The awards for 2018 will be approved in mid-December 2017.

There are four award types:

Research Project Grants
Application deadline is 2 p.m., local time, on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

The HBLB supports scientifically robust research projects to benefit the racing, breeding, and rearing of the Thoroughbred. Innovative and novel research approaches are encouraged and all applications will be subject to peer review and full evaluation by the Board’s VAC.

Applications are made online via the HBLB’s Equine Grants System which will be open starting Friday, July 28. Visit the “Advancing Veterinary Science and Education” section on the HBLB website for information on:

  • Research priorities and scope;
  • Eligibility;
  • Applications; and
  • Other activity in the veterinary sphere.

The Racing Foundation will again be investing in equine science research that has demonstrable practical benefits to Thoroughbred horseracing. Applications are being processed through the Equine Grants System with applicants being asked to indicate whether they wish their projects to be considered by the HBLB, the Foundation, or both. All applications will be subject to the normal HBLB review process.

Small Project Grants
Application deadline is 2 p.m., local time, on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017

This fund supports research focusing on specific issues of direct and immediate practical importance to the Thoroughbred. The grants are open to individuals employed by veterinary schools, universities and research institutes, veterinary practitioners or elsewhere in the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry. The HBLB is particularly interested in receiving applications from clinicians, farriers, and others involved directly in the care of horses in training yards. Projects are limited to one year with costs limited to £10,000. The application pack and form will appear in the “Advancing Veterinary Science and Education” section on the HBLB website starting Friday, July 28.

Education Awards
Application deadline is 2 p.m., local time, on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017

The different awards are as follows:

  • Veterinary research training scholarships offer three-year funding to pursue a PhD program in any scientific or veterinary field relevant to equines and particularly the racing, breeding, or rearing of Thoroughbreds. Research training scholarships are open to veterinary graduates or nonveterinary science graduates. The requirements regarding the subject of the PhD will be the same for graduates in either discipline.
  • Senior equine clinical scholarships allow veterinary graduates with at least two years’ practical experience to train for a higher qualification, such as a European diploma, over four years. The qualification must be in an equine field with particular relevance to the Thoroughbred.

Applications for both types of award must be made by the prospective supervisor within an eligible institution, such as university veterinary school, other university department or research institute. Awards include a tax-free stipend to cover living costs and an expense allowance for research costs and other purposes directly relevant to the scholarship.

For full information and to apply, please download an application pack and form from the “Advancing Veterinary Science and Education” section of the HBLB website. This will be available from Friday July 28.

Equine Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Application deadline is 2 p.m., local time, on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017

The HBLB is again inviting applications from recent veterinary PhD graduates for a post-doctoral fellowship.

Introduced in 2016, the Equine post-doctoral fellowships are aimed at exceptional veterinary PhDs, with the skills and aptitude to develop a leading academic or clinical academic career in equine veterinary sciences. The area of research must be focused on Thoroughbred racing, breeding, or rearing. The fellowship will be tenable for three years.

For full information and to apply, please download an application pack and form from the “Advancing Veterinary Science and Education” section of the HBLB website. This will be available from Friday July 28.

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