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RCVS Knowledge opens nominations for the Plowright Prize

30 September 2021

The Plowright Prize offers £75,000 to recognise an individual working in Europe or the Commonwealth who has made a significant impact on the control, management and eradication of infectious diseases of animals. Eligible activity must demonstrate animal, humanitarian or economic benefit. The prize money is intended to support the individual’s ongoing work in the field.

Potential recipients of the prize include veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and research scientists. Awardees may be working in a research setting, in academia, in practice or in other related sectors. Individuals must be nominated for the award, and the prize is not open to organisations.

RCVS Knowledge is delighted to be working with an esteemed judging panel, which includes representatives from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Organisation for Animal Health, Pirbright, The Royal Society and the Microbiology Society.

Individuals must be nominated for the Plowright Prize by 31 March 2022.

The 2020 winner was Professor Ivan Morrison, who is Professor of Immunology at The Roslin Institute Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh, for his research into creating a cost-effective vaccine for the cattle disease East Coast Fever.

Professor Morrison said: “It was a great honour to receive the inaugural RCVS Knowledge Plowright Prize, I was particularly humbled that it is awarded in memory of Walter Plowright. The funds are advancing my current research on Theileria parva, by demonstrating that the approach I am pursuing is a viable option for vaccination against the parasite.

“Such a vaccine will be affordable by small-holders in Africa, improving their ability to control the disease and enhancing their prosperity and quality of life.”

Executive Director of RCVS Knowledge Chris Gush said: “We are delighted to open the second Plowright Prize in memory of one of the world’s most exceptional veterinary surgeons and scientists, and in celebration of decades of dedication to an area of substantial societal significance.

“We look forward to receiving nominations from throughout Europe and the Commonwealth that will further vital research in the area of infectious disease within the veterinary profession, benefiting animals, the public and society worldwide.”

Walter Plowright (1923-2010) was an acclaimed veterinary scientist whose major breakthrough in the battle against rinderpest – the tissue culture rinderpest vaccine (TCRV) – provided the key to eliminating the disease. In the year of Walter’s death, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations officially announced the complete eradication of the disease, only the second such feat in human history, alongside smallpox.

The story behind the profession’s eradication of rinderpest, commonly known as cattle plague, can be read in RCVS Knowledge’s publication Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Matters.

Full criteria for the Plowright Prize can be found on the RCVS Knowledge website.

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