Workshop to Discuss Digital Transformation of Animal Disease & Drug Usage

AHEAD 2017 workshop is sponsored by OECD’s Co-operative Research Programme on Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems

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VirtualVet, in partnership with Epi-Connect, presented an interactive and impactful two-day workshop. The participating group set out the agri-food industry’s next steps along the digital transformation journey.

With so many challenges facing farmers and the entire value chain (risk of disease, OneHealth initiative, price volatility, impacts of climate change and antimicrobial resistance, to name just a few), it is time the industry harnesses the power of proven data-driven business models to help its stakeholders.

Anything less will jeopardise the sustainability of our family farms and the quality of our food.

The workshop is sponsored by OECD Co-operative Research Programme on Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems. The workshop will be attended by Dr Székács of Research Institute of Agro-Environmental Sciences, National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, Budapest, in his role as thematic lead in OECD’s sponsoring research programme. For further details, see here, Theme II.


We offer a bespoke consultancy service, delivering actionable strategic direction to your organisation.

VirtualVet wants to work with your organisation to bring you the benefits of our experience and insights.


We are committed to a collaborative approach and engaging with willing and enthusiastic partners along the entire agricultural value chain. As the agricultural industry moves to apply technological solutions to its understandable but laborious reporting responsibilities, we have identified challenges that can only be solved by a broad and consultative approach. VirtualVet has identified business models which will ensure fair and inclusive economic benefits for farmers, vets, researchers, industry stakeholders and government agencies.


Contact us today to design an approach that works for you and your organisation.


Workshop to discuss Digital Transformation: Animal Health & Drug Usage

March 1st & 2nd, 2017

Exeter, UK

On March 1st & 2nd, 2017, VirtualVet co-hosted an important workshop to discuss the digital transformation taking place in farming.

We are delighted to work with Dr Flavie Vial of Epi-Connect as we focus on disease and drug usage surveillance, but this time through innovative business models and farmer centric processes.

Dr Flavie Vial

Flavie is an applied biostatistician with over seven years of experience in the animal health and animal production industries. She started her career as an epidemiologist modelling infectious diseases and control strategies in wildlife before specialising in the development of statistical methods in response to emerging issues in the environmental, agricultural and health sectors.

Previous to founding Epi-connect in 2016, Flavie worked as a research associate for the Veterinary Public Health Institute in Switzerland (2011-2015); for the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London (2010-2011); and for the African Research Consortium on Population and Ecosystem Health (2010) in Côte d’Ivoire.


Dr Barbara Han

Dr Barbara Han will show the participants the potential of our digitised vision; an early warning framework for disease control and prevention.

Dr Barbara Han

Barbara Han is a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

Her current research focuses on applying machine learning and other computational tools to forecast novel hosts, vectors, pathogens, and environments that may give rise to disease spill-overs and outbreaks in human and animal populations.

Prior to starting at the Cary Institute, Dr. Han completed two consecutive postdocs, in the Altizer Lab and in the Drake Lab at the University of Georgia, exploring how transmission may vary predictably with host behaviour in wild mammals using dynamical models, and how machine learning tools and eco-informatics approaches can identify novel reservoirs for zoonotic disease.

Dr. Han’s interest in disease ecology began as a graduate student in the Blaustein Lab at Oregon State University, when amphibian chytridiomycosis was just emerging. She used controlled experiments to investigate how chytrid infection changes host behaviour, and how a community comprised of different host species impacts infection severity and mortality for different species. While completing her Ph.D., Dr. Han spent a year conducting field work as a U.S. Fulbright Fellow in Venezuela to investigate the distribution of chytrid fungus in native amphibians in the Andes.


Dr. Patrick J. Lynch

Dr. Patrick J. Lynch is the director of RIKON-WIT, a business innovation research centre located in Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland. He has published extensively on business models and networked innovation in top-tier journals and peer-reviewed conferences.


Over a 15-year period, he has amassed considerable industry, consultancy and applied innovation research experience in process optimisation, business & market modelling and digital transformation. Patrick manages a team of 40 researchers and is the principal investigator on over 450 innovation and research projects that are recognised for making real transformational change in business. His work allows a re-imaging of how companies can identify tactical business opportunities to grow business volume, develop breakthrough strategies & innovative business models to seize those opportunities and transform their organization to execute the new growth strategy.


Of particular interest to Patrick is the new data-driven business models that are transforming the agriculture supply chain and re-defining the role of the farmer in these new data-supply chains.


Harm-Jan van der Beek

 Harm-Jan van der Beek is born in 1960 on a dairy farm in the Netherlands as the third son. The family farm was modern and the records of the cows were kept very precise. All on paper of course, but that is were a part of the passion started. At the end of the study at the Wageningen University, he was doing a POC project for the first milking robot, that ended up in a television program in 1984 and most farmers in Holland were looking at this impossible invention. After the study he started working for the company that is now called UNIFORM-Agri.


On his 29th he became the MD of the company due to a big reorganization. From that moment on the growing strategy started with the UNIFORM software. The change from DOS to Windows was a technical challenge. The Food and Mouth disaster in the early zero’s bas a huge challenge business wise. He set up a Big-date company in the Dairy sector (DDW) as a spin off in 2011 and that seemed to work out very well as an early strategic step in a good direction.


Now he is still leading UNIFORM-Agri as the fastest growing herd management software company, with over 10,000 users worldwide. And the next challenge is to double the number of users and make a smooth change over to the cloud.


Christine holds a Masters degree in the Economic Evaluation of Healthcare from City University, London. Christine’s career spans 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry, with experience in sales, marketing, health economics, market access consultancy and real-world evidence data provision. Christine has developed global economic strategies for major pharmaceutical companies and conducted multiple health technology submissions to HTA bodies such as NICE, the SMC and the Irish HSE.


She has published in peer-review journals including the British Medical Journal, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the British Journal of Psychiatry. During her time in industry, Christine was an active member of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries (ABPI) HTA taskforce and chaired the ABPI’s sub-committee on health economics in NICE guidelines. Christine’s current position is Commercial Director with GPrX Data Ltd, which she founded in 2012 to provide Open Source Data to pharmaceutical and medical device clients to leverage sales force intelligence and to support optimum product utilisation.