Monday 18th May 2020

No Application Round in 2020 for Veterinary Science and Education Grants

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has decided not to launch a veterinary science and education grant application round this year having carefully considered the current situation.   

In a normal year, applications for major projects and all educational awards would now be in preparation with a submission deadline in June. With uncertainty around the budget that HBLB might be able to make available to fund new projects starting in 2021 and recognising that condensing the timetable would compromise the review and appraisal process, the Board has decided to miss a year of new grant funding.

There is a possibility that a call for small project applications will be issued later in the summer.  A decision on this will be made in due course.  

Projects and scholarships already underway will continue, although many will need to be extended to allow extra time to complete the laboratory and field work elements that are suspended for the time being.

HBLB is also maintaining its support for infectious disease surveillance. 

Details of new work starting this year, as already approved by the Board in January 2020, are set out below.


For further information please contact:

Annie Dodd
HBLB Grants Manager
020 7333 0043


The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) veterinary science and education investment programme for 2020 includes:

  • 3 Major Research Projects
  • 12 Small Research Projects
  • 1 Scholarship 
  • 2 Equine Post Doctoral Fellowships
  • 2 Infectious Disease Surveillance Programmes

In addition to the allocation approved by HBLB of £2m (2019: £2m), the Racing Foundation will again be supporting equine veterinary scientific research, providing £200,000 towards the three major projects beginning this year and funding one of the small projects.

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.

The major projects are:

  • Identification of how Streptococcus zooepidemicus infects the horse, and steps towards an effective vaccine
  • Investigation of the equine genome to identify which genes are virus resistant and could help in the development of improved vaccines
  • Examination of a newly emerging strain of the foal infection, Rhodococcus equi, that is resistant to current therapies.

The two Equine Post Doctoral Fellows starting this year are Dr Caroline Chauché, who will be studying, at Edinburgh University, the long term effects of Equine Influenza on the respiratory system; and, at Liverpool University, Dr Agnieszka Turlo, whose subject is new therapies for tendon repair.

A research scholarship will be starting at Bristol University under the supervision of Dr Laura Peachey.  The research project will look at equine parasitology, with a focus on drug-resistance.

The small project programme includes:  

  • How and why disease spreads between racing and non-racing horses
  • Evaluation of a potential new treatment for African Horse Sickness
  • Development of an image analysis system to measure respiratory changes
  • New method of detecting and identifying multidrug resistant bacterial infections
  • Examining antibody responses to equine Hepaciviruses to inform vaccine design
  • Survey of the prevalence and impact of back pain in the training of the racing Thoroughbred
  • Development of a new local anaesthetic technique for back surgery in horses
  • Impact of abnormal chromosome numbers on breeding and developmental disorders
  • Validation of a new equine temperature sensor
  • Further investigation of stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis in horses
  • Examination of horse, and horse and rider, movement over different surfaces
  • Potential environmental chemical effects on Thoroughbred breeding stallions.


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. Website   Twitter: @LevyBoard

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

Racing Foundation
The Racing Foundation was established in January 2012 by the British Horseracing Authority, the Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association, as a charity, to oversee the distribution of funds to charitable causes within racing following the sale of the Tote. It is registered with the Charity Commission under the law of England and Wales (no. 1145297). Its purpose is to make a difference in racing by acting as a catalyst and a funder of improvement. The Trustees of the Racing Foundation are Ian Barlow (Chairman), Linda Bowles, Susannah Gill, Mark Johnston, Louise Kemble and William Rucker. Since inception, the Racing Foundation has granted over £20 million to charities associated with the horseracing and Thoroughbred breeding industry in the UK, supporting work in social welfare, education and training, horse welfare, equine science research, and heritage and culture. Its latest strategy commits it to meeting the expectations of our stakeholders which are that it: act more strategically, speed up funds flowing into the industry, raise awareness of its work, consider a narrower focus and be aligned with industry strategy. It provides grant and loan funding, challenges and supports racing charities and ensures its own good processes and governance. Website:   Twitter: @RacingGrants