ternational agencies and composed of scientists with infectious disease, animal health, and public health expertise could develop and regularly evaluate and modify a comprehensive, long-term research agenda for animal and zoonotic disease prevention and detection in collaboration with other federal research institutions and laboratories. The advantage of such a group would be to provide a forum for regular exchange of information, sharing of priorities, and possibilities for priority modification. Furthermore, an advisory group could assist federal grant administrators in developing requests for interagency funded proposals for important new areas of animal/zoonotic disease research and emerging animal and zoonotic disease problems. A distinct disadvantage could occur if this group were constructed in such a way as to create another layer of approval or review that would delay the development of new initiatives or implementations of programs.
The comprehensive research agenda could also include an incentive program to encourage academic, government, and the private sectors to partner and to develop novel and effective technologies for the prevention and detection of animal disease both domestically and abroad. As a financial incentive, federal funding agencies could jointly fund new programs (such as program grants by multi-investigator teams from the above sectors) and national centers (integrated zoonotic and wildlife disease research centers and information centers for collecting, collating, and monitoring of diagnostic/disease information across species) to foster and promote collaborative research with the goal to provide an integrated research approach to the detection, diagnosis, and prevention of animal and zoonotic diseases encompassing human and multispecies animal hosts. The advantages of an incentive program would be to incorporate more researchers into the overall strategy to address and control animal diseases and to work and collaborate with other countries on issues of common concern. A disadvantage can arise if a federally funded program cannot exert sufficient control in the appropriate time period to obtain the needed results. The nature of the relationship between federal needs and academic or private industry contributions would have to be structured in such a way that there is continual dialogue and sharing of results in a real-time way.
A more in-depth assessment of national needs for research in animal health is beyond the scope of this report and is being addressed by a forthcoming NRC report on Critical Needs for Research in Veterinary Science (NRC, 2005).
Recommendation 5: To strengthen the animal health and zoonotic disease research infrastructure, the committee recommends that competitive grants be made available to scientists to upgrade equipment for