Published: 02 Oct 2017 | Last Updated: 10 Aug 2023 11:05:27

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is working closely with the UK Government and counterparts in Jordan to build public health and biosecurity infrastructure in the Middle East. As part of this effort, since 2015 the RVC has twinned with a leading institution in the region, the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST).

Jordan Offical Picture
Professor Stuart Reid talking with student  at Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST)

Together they are spearheading research into some of the major health risks currently facing the Middle East, including Brucellosis and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), both of which affect several thousand people in the region.   

Funded by the British Government’s International Biological Security programme, through the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), this partnership has served to share best practice in veterinary public health between Europe and the Middle East, and build capacity in terms of undergraduate and postgraduate education in veterinary medicine, scientific research and disease control. Crucially, it seeks to promote concepts of bio-threat awareness and reduction, and to spread a culture of ethical science by building improved capacity for biosecurity, modern diagnostics, and disease surveillance. It will also enhance capability for research on endemic and emerging diseases, support innovative academic practice and provide advice and guidance for JUST’s aspirations to gain accreditation from EAEVE.  

As a key part of this partnership, leading figures at the RVC this week joined a British delegation to Jordan where they were able to visit the main campus of JUST in Irbid in the North as well as with colleagues from MERS research facilities in the South. This presented the opportunity for the RVC Principal Stuart Reid to meet his counterpart, Professor Omar Al-Jarrah, President of the JUST – and to reaffirm their strong commitment to this lasting partnership. As part of the twinning, a cohort of 10 postgraduate students (5 JUST students and 5 RVC students) are conducting their MSc/MRs projects on complementary topics of relevance to Jordan. Research topics include major emerging issues such as antimicrobial resistance, scanning surveillance for livestock diseases and spatial modelling of leishmaniasis, a neglected vector-borne disease.  The partnership also included a fully funded MSc in Wild Animal Health which was carried out in part at the RVC. During the visit, the RVC delegation conferred a certificate of degree completion on Zain Shaheen, the first distinguished Jordanian student to complete the scholarship marking Dr Shaheen as Jordan’s first Wild Animal veterinarian. This ceremony took place at the Princess Alia Foundation, and the ceremony was attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Alia bint Hussein of Jordan and Her Excellency Sharifa Sarra.  

Professor Javier Guitian, RVC Principle Investigator and Co-Project Lead, commented: “It has been gratifying to see the difference this programme has made to students at JUST, and to celebrate the outstanding work of the distinguished scholar Zain Shaheen. “This collaboration is set to have a significant impact on disease control in Jordan and throughout the Middle East, and we have been delighted to see the significant advances made.”

Professor Stuart Reid, RVC Principal, said: “This was a very fruitful and rewarding trip. It was valuable for us to meet with our counterparts in Jordan and I’m delighted we were able to re-affirm the commitment of both the RVC and JUST to this important cooperative work going forward. “I would like to thank the Jordanian government, our hosts at JUST and all involved for their hospitality and collaborative insights”

President of JUST, Professor Omar AL-Jarrah, added: “The RVC and JUST twinning program is a great example of a successful collaborative international partnership between Jordan and the UK. This partnership aligns with the strategic goals of JUST in achieving effective international collaboration with world class higher education institutions such The Royal Veterinary College in London.”  

Notes to editors: Key Participants in the trip included:

  • RVC Principal, Professor Stuart Reid, 
  • RVC Principal Investigator (Project Lead), Professor Javier Guitian 
  • RVC Director of International, Nina Davies
  • Principal Scientist, UK International Biosecurity Programme, David Elliott 
  • President of JUST, Professor Omar Al-Jarrah 
  • Vice President of JUST, Professor Khalid El Salem 
  • Director of International Relations, Dr Ammar Almaaytah 
  • JUST Principal Investigator (Project Lead), Professor Ehab Abu-Basha 
  • Dean of Veterinary School, Professor Falah Shdeifat 
  • Director of Princess Haya Biotech Center, Dr Said Jaradat

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About the Royal Veterinary College ·      

  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a constituent College of the University of London. The RVC offers undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences, being ranked in the top 10 universities nationally for biosciences degrees and in the top three in the world for veterinary medicine.  It is currently the only veterinary school in the world to hold full accreditation from AVMA, EAEVE, RCVS and AVBC. ·       A research-led institution, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) the RVC maintained its position as the top HEFCE funded veterinary focused research institution. 
  • The RVC also provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals; the Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital in central London, the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals (Europe's largest small animal referral centre), the Equine Referral Hospital, and the Farm Animal Clinical Centre located at the Hertfordshire campus.

About the International Biological Security Programme ·      

  • The British Government’s International Biological Security Programme works cooperatively with the international partners to reduce the risk that biological capabilities will be used to cause disease, to promote awareness of biological risks, and contribute to improved public and veterinary health.   

About JUST

  • Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) is a comprehensive, state-supported university located on the outskirts of Irbid, in northern Jordan, 70km north Amman, the capital city of Jordan. JUST was established in 1986 as an autonomous national institute of higher education with the main objective of producing outstanding professionals in specialisations that match the needs of Jordan and the region.  
  • Since its establishment, JUST has been at the forefront of higher learning in the Arab World. It also maintains a high reputation among the Middle Eastern universities due to its faculty and administrative staff, multi-disciplinary educational system and broad diversity of students. The university was described as the best scientific institution in the Kingdom by King Abdullah II, and it was ranked as the top university in Jordan for the year 2016 and 2017 consecutively according to Times Higher Education World University Ranking.  
  • JUST is considered today as one of the region's leading universities in teaching and research. The number of students has increased significantly since the university’s establishment.Today JUST has more than 1000 full-time faculty members, with 23,000 undergraduate and 1800 graduate students, in contrast to 2,300 students in the 1986/1987 academic year. 25% of students enrolled at JUST are international students representing 50 countries and comprising the largest diverse student body in Jordan.    

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