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Research to use artificial intelligence to identify sick livestock

Press release issued: 2 November 2020

The welfare of livestock could be improved thanks to a new research project that will use novel artificial intelligence methods combined with behavioural analytics to provide rapid and reliable insights to animal health for farmers across the UK. The research and commercial feasibility program, co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency, will be led by the Quant Foundry (QF) in collaboration with the University of Bristol Vet School and Agri-EPI Centre.

The team headed by Dr Chris Cormack at QF will run a feasibility study with Professor Andrew Dowsey and animal welfare experts, Dr Siobhan Mullan, Dr Suzanne Held and Professor Michael Mendl at the University of Bristol and Agri-EPI Centre at their South West Dairy Development Centre in Somerset.

The project aims to provide a new cost-effective solution for farmers and vets to identify illness in livestock providing not only cost savings but also a means to reduce the impact of farming on the environment. 

Dr Chris Cormack, Managing Director at the Quant Foundry, said: "In conjunction with our research partners, Bristol Veterinary School and Agri-EPI, the study of behavioural analytics in animals will open up a new era in artificial intelligence driven solutions for farmers. We have great hopes that not only can we help farmers provide improved care for their livestock but also help reduce their economic costs and their environmental impact."

Professor Andrew Dowsey, Chair in Population Health Data Science at Bristol Veterinary School, and a specialist in data solutions for health and agriculture, added: "This collaboration is a fantastic opportunity to translate cutting-edge artificial intelligence approaches to build upon the UK’s high standards in cattle welfare and support farmers in our targets for net-zero emissions."

Duncan Forbes, Agri-EPI centre's Head of Dairy said: "Agri-EPI's South West Dairy Development Centre is dedicated to the development and evaluation of exciting emerging technologies such as this and we're looking forward to working with Quant Foundry and Bristol Vet School."

Throughout the project the collaborative team will be actively seeking partners to help them commercialise and build capability as the project matures, this can range from direct investment or from interested companies looking to complement their existing activities in this upcoming area.

Further information

Quant Foundry
Since its inception in 2018 Quant Foundry has specialised in developing Innovative solutions in artificial intelligence and finance. Quant Foundry has made a commitment to building solutions that help reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and to help understand and manage the risks of climate change. Quant Foundry is actively engaged with several academic institutions including Imperial College, University of Bristol, Sussex and other universities in England and Wales where QF is driving forward ideas and capabilities in the new areas of climate risk and AI applications.

Study at Bristol Veterinary School
The University of Bristol Veterinary School offers a range of undergraduate courses including:

In addition a number of postgraduate courses including:

Based at Bristol's Langford Campus, Bristol Veterinary School boasts first-class clinical facilities and encompasses a small animal hospital, a dairy farm, diagnostic laboratories, and farm animal, small animal and equine practices. 

The University of Bristol Vet School is ranked within the top 50 of the 2019 Shanghai Ranking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019 for Veterinary Sciences.The rankings are determined by a range of criteria, such as academic reputation, research impact and number of citations, as well as employer reputation per subject.

Agri-EPI Centre is accelerating the adoption of precision agriculture and engineering technologies to boost productivity across the whole agri-food chain. It does this by exploring how to optimise performance of the highly complex agricultural production and processing systems. The Centre provides world-class R&D facilities, connects academia and industry and progresses next generation technologies such as sensing, imaging and robotics to create a new understanding of production efficiency. The South West Dairy Development Centre is a state-of-the-art, 180-cow dairy unit in Somerset. The Centre provides a truly innovative environment for the development, testing and demonstration of new technologies and techniques to support sustainable, efficient and high health and welfare milk production. 

Innovate UK
Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. They connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation for more information visit

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