SRUC professor wins fellowship to prepare for future pandemics

A professor from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has been awarded a prestigious fellowship to help prepare for future pandemics.

Professor Nicola Holden is one of 44 academic fellows selected from across the UK to work in 21 government departments and five What Works Centres.

Nicola, who leads SRUC’s Food Security Challenge Centre, has been awarded a Tackling Infections Bioscience Fellowship as part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Policy Fellowships programme connecting research and policy.

She will work with policymakers in the Scottish Government over the next 18 months to address risk and resilience to infectious diseases.

‘I’m delighted to have been awarded one of these policy fellowships,’ Nicola said.

‘It is an excellent opportunity to understand how scientific evidence is used for the kind of policy decisions that affect our lives every day.

‘It’s also fantastic to belong to a cohort that covers such a wide range of policy-relevant topics, spanning the whole of the UK.

‘The topic covers risk and resilience to infectious diseases.

‘It will involve identifying and bringing together diverse sets of data on infectious agents and can be used to inform policymakers, academics and industry, for example in preparation for future pandemics.

‘SRUC is ideally placed to act as a springboard for this work, and in turn my aim is to ensure we continue to play a central role in the application of our excellent science.’

Professor Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC, said: ‘I am delighted for Nicola – this fellowship is testament to the excellence and impact of her work.

‘It also highlights the unique role SRUC can play in tackling some of the major challenges facing our planet, as we continue on our journey to become Scotland’s enterprise university at the heart of a sustainable natural economy.

‘By attracting and supporting talented colleagues such as Nicola, we can lead the way in delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all, in Scotland, and beyond.’

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