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Research Project: Establish, Develop and Coordinate a Network of BSL-3 and BSL-4 Large Animal and Laboratory Agricultural Research Facilities

Location: Research Programs

Project Number: 3022-32000-018-024-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2020
End Date: Sep 30, 2024

The objective of this proposed Cooperative Agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Texas A&M University through its Global Health Research Complex (TAMU GHRC) is to establish, develop and coordinate a network of University and Federal US BSL3Ag/BSL-3/BSL-4 Large Animal and Laboratory Agricultural Research Facilities capable of fulfilling the following broad objectives: 1. Optimizing collaboration and knowledge sharing to protect animal health, agriculture, and public health resources. 2. Developing trusted partnerships and collaborations between network members. 3. Assisting network members in their ongoing efforts to commence and maintain operational readiness and compliance at their respective facilities. 4. Creating collaborative opportunities to complement, enhance and expand the science programs between the respective network members 5. Establishing a trusted network of latent biocontainment facility and technical expertise surge capacity that could be made available when required. 6. Establish knowledge sharing, and technical expertise to support U.S. agriculture and biodefense needs.

The inaugural network members themselves will collectively develop a final working list of membership criteria and strategic program focus areas of the network to consider when inviting future members to become part of the network. Proposed interim eligibility criteria for being considered for membership in the network include: 1) Lab and Animal Research Holding facilities capable of handling large animals (livestock and wildlife species) at BSL-3 or BSL-4 and BSL-3Ag/ABSL-3 or ABSL-4 biosafety levels, respectively, combined with programmatic capability to address zoonotic disease and one health research problems; and, 2) Program interest and mission emphasis on solving agricultural research problems in the U.S. and globally. Initial membership will be determined following discussions with USDA leadership but may include: USDA NBAF/PIADC; USDA National Centers for Animal Health (USDA NCAH); USDA Southeastern Poultry Research Laboratory (SERPL); USGS National Wildlife Health Center; TAMU GHRC; and Kansas State University Biosecurity Research Institute K-State BRI); Colorado State University; University of Georgia; UTMB; Rocky Mountain Laboratories. Provisions to expand membership will be determined and agreed between the inaugural network members depending upon evolving issues or needs as they arise.