Thursday 27th July 2017

New HBLB Equine Science Research and Education Awards in 2017 and HBLB opens 2017 Application Round


For immediate release, Wednesday 26th July 2017

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) veterinary science and education investment programme for 2017 includes:

3 Major Research Projects

  • 3 Small Research Projects
  • 2 Scholarships  
  • 1 Equine Post Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2 Infectious Disease Programmes

In addition to the allocation approved by HBLB of £1.55m (2016: £1.55m), the Racing Foundation has again decided to inject new funding into veterinary scientific research, providing £227,000 towards the three  major projects beginning this year.

The HBLB’s Veterinary Advisory Committee (VAC) will continue to manage ongoing projects and educational awards being supported by the Foundation, the TBA and the BEBF. In addition, both the TBA and ROA contribute towards the Equine Infectious Disease Service.

Professor Sandy Love, Chair of the HBLB’s VAC, said:

Maintaining Racing’s investment in veterinary research and education is absolutely essential for the health and wellbeing of our horses.  In selecting the projects and scholarships to recommend for funding, the HBLB’s VAC has two paramount principles: the chosen work has to be scientifically robust and clearly relevant to the racing, breeding and rearing of Thoroughbreds.  The quality of applications was as always highly impressive and the choice was difficult.  The VAC is delighted that, with the support of the Racing Foundation, some very  promising work in a range of key areas will be able to start in 2017.

“Further, we are pleased to announce a new application round, for awards to start in 2018.  Usually this process would begin in February, but the introduction of reforms to the Levy in April 2017 pushed back the launch.  Further information on the new round appears below.”

Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of The Racing Foundation, said:

This year, the Racing Foundation will be involved with each of the three new major projects. All three are highly relevant to the Thoroughbred.  The objectives include the identification of novel, non-surgical techniques for preventing and/or mitigating breathing problems; the development of a device to evaluate racehorse shoes objectively and effectively, taking into account individual characteristics and the surface to be raced on; and, of vital importance to the breeding industry, investigation of potential new treatments and/or vaccines to counter Rhodococcus Equi.

“The Foundation is very happy to work with the VAC – its expertise, professionalism and breadth of responsibility are greatly valued."

All grant applications are assessed by the HBLB’s VAC and by external experts in accordance with the established procedure before being discussed with the Foundation, the BEBF and TBA.  The VAC benefits too from the advice of the British Horseracing Authority’s Veterinary Committee in selecting projects for funding.


In addition to the projects referenced in the Racing Foundation quotation, examples of the areas being covered by work starting this year are:

  • The impact of hepaciviruses   
  • Injury risk factors in jump racing
  • Alternative treatments for R.Equi and pneumonia in foals
  • New imaging techniques for cardiovascular assessment
  • Causes and differentiation of types of pulmonary haemorrhage
  • Exercise physiology and musculoskeletal development

For further information please contact:

Professor Sandy Love                                                                 Tansy Challis  

Chair                                                                                            Grants Manager, The Racing Foundation

HBLB Veterinary Advisory Committee                                         07709 954620



Annie Dodd       

HBLB Grants Manager   

020 7333 0043                                                      



2017 Application Round

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) is inviting applications for equine veterinary research and education awards to start in 2018.   Because the process is beginning later than usual, the timetables are compressed.  The VAC has prioritised the time allocated for the development of applications.

The awards for 2018 will be approved in mid-December 2017.

There are four award types:  

RESEARCH PROJECT GRANTS                      Application deadline is 2pm on Monday 11th September 2017

The HBLB supports scientifically robust research projects to benefit the racing, breeding and rearing of the Thoroughbred.  Innovative and novel research approaches are encouraged and all applications will be subject to peer review and full evaluation by the Board’s VAC.

Applications are made online via the HBLB’s Equine Grants System which will be open from Friday 28th July. Visit the ‘Advancing Veterinary Science and Education’ section on the HBLB website for information on:

Research priorities and scope

  • Eligibility
  • Applications
  • Other activity in the veterinary sphere

The Racing Foundation will again be investing in equine science research that has demonstrable practical benefits to Thoroughbred horseracing. Applications are being processed through the Equine Grants System with applicants being asked to indicate whether they wish their projects to be considered by the HBLB, the Foundation or both.  All applications will be subject to the normal HBLB review process.

SMALL PROJECT GRANTS                                          Application deadline is 2pm on Monday 18th September 2017

This fund supports research focusing on specific issues of direct and immediate practical importance to the Thoroughbred.  The grants are open to individuals employed by veterinary schools, universities and research institutes, veterinary practitioners or elsewhere in the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry.  HBLB is particularly interested in receiving applications from clinicians, farriers and others involved directly in the care of horses in training yards.  Projects are limited to one year with costs limited to £10,000.  The application pack and form will appear in the ‘Advancing Veterinary Science and Education’ section on the HBLB website. This will be available from Friday 28th July.

EDUCATION AWARDS                                                Application deadline is 2pm on Monday 18th September 2017

The different awards are as follows:

  • Veterinary Research Training Scholarships offer 3-year funding to pursue a PhD programme in any scientific or veterinary field relevant to equines and particularly the racing, breeding or rearing of Thoroughbreds.

Research Training Scholarships are open to veterinary graduates or non-veterinary science graduates.   The requirements regarding the subject of the PhD will be the same for graduates in either discipline.

  • Senior Equine Clinical Scholarships allow veterinary graduates with at least 2 years’ practical experience to train for a higher qualification, such as a European Diploma, over 4 years. The qualification must be in an equine field with particular relevance to the Thoroughbred.

Applications for both types of award must be made by the prospective supervisor within an eligible institution, such as university veterinary school, other university department or research institute. Awards include a tax-free stipend to cover living costs and an expense allowance for research costs and other purposes directly relevant to the scholarship.

For full information and to apply, please download an application pack and form from the ‘Advancing Veterinary Science and Education’ section on This will be available from Friday 28th July.

EQUINE POST DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP               Application deadline is 2pm on Monday 18th September 2017

The HBLB is again inviting applications from recent veterinary PhD graduates for a post-doctoral fellowship. 

Introduced in 2016, the Equine Post Doctoral Fellowships are aimed at exceptional veterinary PhDs, with the skills and aptitude to develop a leading academic or clinical academic career in equine veterinary sciences. The area of research must be focused on Thoroughbred racing, breeding or rearing.  The fellowship will be tenable for three years. 

For full information and to apply, please download an application pack and form from the ‘Advancing Veterinary Science and Education’ section on This will be available from Friday 28th July.


For further information please contact Annie Dodd, Grants Manager at the Levy Board, on:

020 7333 0043 or


Notes for editors:

The Horserace Betting Levy Board is a statutory body operating in accordance with the provisions of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963 (as amended). Its purpose is to assess and collect monetary contributions from bookmakers via a levy, which it distributes for the improvement of horseracing and breeds of horses, and for the advancement of veterinary science and education.

The outcomes of HBLB-funded work are published in peer reviewed scientific journals and lay summaries are available at

The Racing Foundation was established in January 2012 to oversee the distribution of funds to charitable causes within racing following the sale of the Tote. The British Horseracing Authority, the Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association are the three joint Members of the charity, which is registered with the Charity Commission as a charity under the law of England and Wales (no. 1145297). Since inception, the Racing Foundation has granted just over £6 million and pledged a further £1.8 million to charities associated with the horseracing and Thoroughbred breeding industry in the UK, supporting work in social welfare, education, training and participation, horse welfare, equine science research, and heritage and culture.‚Äč

The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association is the only official body representing thoroughbred breeders in Great Britain. Membership is open to everyone with an interest in breeding thoroughbreds, be it as an active breeder or an interested follower, in the UK, Europe and beyond.

The BEBF is the British division of the European Breeders Fund which was established in 1983 and is funded predominantly by contributions from stallion owners in member countries.  Over €100m has now been allocated to the European racing industry by the EBF.  

The HBLB’s agreed strategic research priorities are:

  1. Improved prevention of current and emerging infectious diseases by the development of more effective vaccines, diagnostic tools, biosecurity and management strategies;
  2. Improved training environment and racecourse design and surfaces, riding strategies, tack and equipment to enhance the safety, health and well-being of racehorses;
  3. Improved methods of identification, management and prevention of musculoskeletal disease and injury in Thoroughbreds;
  4. Improved male and female reproductive efficiency.