• Perrings, Charles (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


SUMMARY The research problem. The dispersal of animal and plant diseases is among the most important side effects of world trade. Disease impacts on crop yields and livestock put global food supplies at risk, while emergent zoonoses put human health at risk. Since trade is one of the main drivers of economic development, it is important that it not be unduly disrupted by measures to protect against disease risk. Striking the right balance is currently difficult because of the way that trade is treated in national and international disease risk assessments. We will develop risk assessment tools for managing animal and plant disease risk at both national and international scales that will better capture the impact of evolving trade patterns on animal and plant health. The core research team has been built over a number of years through collaboration in three networks: a RCN BESTNet; the international biodiversity science program DIVERSITAS; and a NIMBIOS working group SPIDER. Members of the team have successfully collaborated in a number of NSF projects, including three EEID projects, and a current NIH project Modeling Anthropogenic Effects in the Spread of Infectious Diseases. The team comprises mathematicians (Kleczkowski, Chowell, Morin), ecologists (Daszak, MacLeod, White, Griffin), environmental and resource economists (Fenichel, Finnoff, Horan, Jones, Perrings, Springborn, Touza) and computer scientists (Timmis). A critical addition to the team for this project is the inclusion of ecologists from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in the USA and the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) in the UK. Intellectual merit. The broad aim of the project is to develop enhanced methods for assessing the animal and plant infectious disease risks posed by changes in world trade networks. It has four specific objectives: 1) to improve understanding of the role and influence of disease risk in private trade decisions; 2) to use this information to develop trade-risk assessment methods that can enhance local and national disease risk management; 3) to improve capacity to predict the implications of trade responses and trade interventions for the wider risk landscape, and to explore options for managing this at the international scale; and 4) To develop a virtual laboratory for evaluating alternative incentive-based disease risk management strategies at multiple scales within an adaptive management framework, and to demonstrate this to decision-makers via a web-based interface. To achieve these objectives we will model the risks associated with trade in animal and plant products at three scales: local, national, and international. This is expected to extend scientific understanding of the nature of anthropogenic animal and plant disease risk. It is also expected to extend capacity to project the disease risk implications of economic change. Broader impacts. Trade based risk assessment methods will provide animal and plant health authorities at both the national and international level with the capacity to make improved assessment of the animal and plant health risks associated with imports, and of the effects of trade responses. This may enhance national security by improving disease risk management. It may also enhance national wellbeing by reducing the losses caused by trade interdictions. We will show how national security may be most effectively protected through international cooperation and at what scale. We will partner directly with two of the national organizations responsible for animal and plant disease risk assessment and management, US APHIS and UK FERA, and will seek to partner with others as the research proceeds. Internationally, we expect to partner with the Food and Agricultural Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) and the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement. The project will build research infrastructure by strengthening an existing network of US universities concerned with the management of disease risks, and by extending that network to include universities in the UK. We will offer significant research training benefits to 4 postdocs and 5 GRAs, and will make special efforts to include underrepresented minorities. We will develop novel methods for communicating risk to public and private sector decision-makers, and for engaging them in in silica experiments of the effects of alternative disease risk management tools.
Effective start/end date9/1/149/30/20


  • NSF: Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO): $1,578,769.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.