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Interlab Forum

Fera works with other Government agencies as part of the InterLab Forum and hosted a meeting of the Interlab Forum on 24 February 2011 to discuss themes and issues related to sampling.

The Interlab Forum was established in 2006 as the vehicle through which seven key public sector research establishments could develop and enhance the nation's capability in emergency response and disease control through sharing knowledge. They are:

They share a common objective of providing science and technology-based research and advice to policy makers in Government, to other public and private sector organisations and in some cases direct to the public. Between them they can bring to bear the expertise of over 9,000 scientists, technologists and engineers, many with international reputations as leaders in their field.

Forum members use their extensive partnering networks to maximise the opportunities that exist for knowledge transfer and exploitation of intellectual property. In all cases they are committed to scientific excellence and ensuring best value in the work they do.

Aims and objectives

  • To achieve value for money in delivering Government science and technology by sharing best practice, facilities and expertise
  • To champion joint working and interchange
  • To actively seek efficiencies in supporting functions, such as procurement, specialist career development and facilities management
  • To provide mutual support in times of crisis for emergency response and business continuity

Activities

This Co-operation Agreement includes, but is not limited to:

The identification of opportunities for aligning strategies between the Members such as in:

  • the sharing of information and experience between the Members with regard to:
  • people and capability development, technical career structures and succession planning
  • relationships with, and funding of, universities and other research organisations
  • management in their respective areas of operation
  • commercial exploitation, if appropriate

The sharing of information and experience between the Members with regard to:

  • people and capability development, technical career structures and succession planning
  • relationships with, and funding of, universities and other research organisations
  • management in their respective areas of operation
  • commercial exploitation, if appropriate

Areas of common interest include:

  • Emergency response - covering response modes to emergency situations, capabilities and surge capacity
  • Modelling and simulation - of disease control, climatic change and resource management
  • Detection, decontamination and remediation - of hazardous materials, dangerous pathogens and ionising radiation
  • Animal health research facilities and telemetry

Examples of high-profile collaborative projects have included:

  • The 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic. HPA led the UK response to the pandemic supported on the veterinary side by VLA. Emergency response support was provided by Cefas and Dstl
  • Highly pathogenic avian flu outbreak in a Suffolk turkey farm in February 2007. VLA led on the emergency response with back-up investigation and high containment facilities provided by Fera and the HPA
  • Exposure/contamination of polonium 210 following the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006. HPA led on the health implications of the poisoning, with an emergency testing capacity provided by Cefas and VLA
  • The Buncefield fire in 2005. HPA and HSL provided large scale sampling of air quality, which confirmed minimal risk to public health and surrounding communities and Dstl provided gas modelling

For further information on the Interlab Forum contact

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