Ghent University to coordinate new European partnership on animal health and welfare

(27-02-2024) Ghent University will coordinate the European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare. 90 partners will cooperate over seven years to research animal health and welfare actors and to create societal impact.

The European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare (EUP AH&W, acronym EUPAHW) is by far the most ambitious research and innovation initiative the European Commission has funded to control infectious animal diseases, and to promote animal welfare in animal production. Launched this year (2024), the innovative partnership is anticipated to invest €360 million over seven years to boost research and facilitate cooperation between all actors. The scope goes beyond the animal health and welfare actors to enhance cross sector collaboration and, through a One Health and One Welfare approach, to provide full societal impact. The ambitious objectives have appealed to 90 partners including 56 leading research performing organizations and 30 funding organizations in Europe. The partnership will be coordinated by Ghent University. The budget is 50% funded by the European Union Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe, and 50% by EUP AH&W partner institutions.

The Partnership is based on a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), which has been developed during a two-year period involving all relevant actors. The SRIA balances short term applied and strategic research. Infectious diseases both of terrestrial and aquatic animals, and zoonotic risks such as bird flu are addressed, together with research to improve animal welfare.  The Partnership focuses on the prudent use of antimicrobials and ensuring that a high level of animal welfare is provided in every phase of an animal’s life. The Partnership initiates in 2024 17 three-year projects, to be conducted by the 56 research partners, and plans to launch a research call reaching out to further research performing organizations not yet involved in the Partnership. 

The kick-off meeting of the EUP AH&W was held on the 26th and 27th of February 2024 in Brussels and brought together the Partnership members for the first time. It was an occasion to get acquainted with the priority research areas planned in the Partnership, as well as its governance. Representatives of DG-AGRI and DG-SANTE reminded the audience about the expectations of the European Commission. In a dedicated session, stakeholders shared views and perspectives on animal health and welfare challenges, as well as how we can overcome those barriers by working together.

"Succeeding in gathering 90 organisations for this common goal was highly challenging. But as Belgians, we know that “Unity is strength”! - Nathalie Vanderheijden (Ghent University), coordinator of the EUP AH&W

Notes to editors 

  • Contact:; Coordinator:; Deputy coordinator:
  • The European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare started on 1st of January 2024, and held its kick-off meeting on the 26th and 27th of February 2024 in Brussels. The signature of the Grant Agreement is imminent.

Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

EUP            co-funded by the eu