Thursday 11th April 2019

New HBLB Veterinary Science Research and Education Awards starting in 2019 and 2020 Application Round


For immediate release Thursday 11 April 2019  

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) veterinary science and education investment programme for 2019 includes:

  • 4 Major Research Projects
  • 5 Small Research Projects
  • 2 Scholarships 
  • 1 Equine Post Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2 Infectious Disease Surveillance Programmes

In addition to the allocation approved by HBLB of £2m (2018: £1.8m), the Racing Foundation will again be supporting equine veterinary scientific research, providing £150,000 towards three of the major projects beginning this year.

The HBLB’s Veterinary Advisory Committee (VAC) will continue to manage ongoing projects and educational awards being funded 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:

With the HBLB now continuing without time limitation, a new grant application round will open shortly.  Potential applicants should take time to study the Scope and Priorities for research which are agreed as a guide to what most concerns and interests Racing by an Industry group including the BHA, NTF, ROA, RCA, TBA, BEVA and ARVS and then approved by the VAC and HBLB.  This is important because our application assessment mechanism takes equal account of scientific rigour and of relevance to the racing, breeding and rearing of Thoroughbreds. 

“Britain is home to an enormous range of scientific expertise and the Industry is lucky that what concerns us also attracts the interest of our world class scientists, and of international collaborators.  Racing’s investment in equine veterinary science matters not only to the Thoroughbred in this country, but also to all kinds of horses all over the globe. 

“The variety of new work starting in 2019 reflects the breadth of what is important to Racing.  As always, we had many excellent applications, but we were unable to stretch our funds to cover them all.

“The new application round, for awards to start in 2020, opens on Tuesday 16 April.”

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

This year the Racing Foundation is supporting three very promising projects, each of them addressing a key concern to the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industries.

“The first is looking at the genetic component of fracture in Thoroughbreds, a common problem in both health and welfare terms.  This project is the next step in identifying how horses can be predisposed to fracture, opening the door to new therapies and management practices to help reduce the risk.

“Respiratory problems are a major cause of underperformance – the second project is taking a technique now developed for human patients and adapting it for horses.  The aim is a simpler method of monitoring racehorse health and identifying inflammatory airway conditions to enable swift treatment and thus minimise consequences.  

“Lameness caused by osteoarthritis is another major cause of racehorse wastage in terms of reduced performance, lost days racing and early retirement.  The third Foundation-supported project is again drawing on discoveries in human medicine. The objective is to identify diagnostic markers that can reveal the very earliest signs of disease while it is still possible to treat.

“The Foundation’s involvement in veterinary scientific research started in 2014 and has now reached the £1 million mark – we are planning an event, later this year, to showcase some of the research projects and their outcomes.”


Other work starting in 2019 under the HBLB veterinary science programme relates to:

  • New methods to improve equine influenza vaccine development    
  • The causes of equine squamous cell carcinoma – a common type of equine cancer
  • A new angle on strangles vaccination  
  • The impact of influenza D infection in the UK  
  • Food supplements to help the metabolic health of yearlings  
  • How to get the most out of using a water treadmill  
  • Containing tendon inflammation to improve regeneration after injury  
  • Enhanced imaging of fetlock damage to aid analysis and treatment  
  • Vector borne disease risks

Racing’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;
  5. Identification of effective, appropriate and evidence-based methods to help the immediate post-racing transition of the racing Thoroughbred to new activities.

For further information please contact:

Professor Sandy Love                                             Tansy Challis  
Chair                                                                        Grants Manager
HBLB Veterinary Advisory Committee                     The Racing Foundation
Via                                07709 954620

Annie Dodd       
HBLB Grants Manager   
020 7333 0043

2019 Application Round

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) is inviting applications for equine veterinary research and education grants to start in 2020.  The awards will be approved in mid-December 2019.  Applications open on 16 April 2019.

There are four award types: 

Application deadline is 2pm on Monday 17 June 2019

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. 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 is interested in equine science research that has demonstrable practical benefits to Thoroughbred horseracing. Applicants submitting proposals through the Equine Grants System will be 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 16 September 2019

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 restricted to around £10,000.  The application pack and form will appear in the ‘Advancing Veterinary Science and Education’ section on the HBLB website.  

EDUCATION AWARDS                                   
Application deadline is 2pm on Monday 17 June 2019

The different awards are as follows:

  • Veterinary Research Training Scholarships offer 4-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 a 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

Application deadline is 2pm on Monday 17 June 2019

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

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.