NordForsk Digitalisation of the Public Sector: Digitalisation of livestock data to improve veterinary public health

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Computing Science


Successful management of livestock disease ensures a consistent supply of safe food for everyone in society. The use of data by industry, public services, and even the public at large is a key part of this veterinary public health mission. However, managing this data comes with many challenges: how should data collection be standardised, and who should have access to different aspects of this data? What risks are farmers exposed to by making their data publically available? What data and processes need to be maintained to be able to effectively control shared threats to our supply of safe food within our increasingly international society?

The DigiVet project will study how livestock data is currently used across the partner nations, and how technology, training, and regulatory frameworks might provide societal benefit by improving the public-interest uses of these data. Our study includes workshops with stakeholders to map existing practices, and document the gaps, roadblocks, and opportunities for improvement. Three case studies will cover foodborne disease, antimicrobial usage, and contagious diseases of livestock. Foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella are a serious public health issue, antimicrobial usage in livestock may be contributing to the developing antimicrobial resistance problem in human pathogens, and exotic and highly contagious livestock diseases such as African swine fever have the potential to devastate our national agricultural sectors, each of which has wide-reaching implications for society as a whole. Meeting each of these challenges requires different approaches, but each are united by their dependence on similar sources of data to be able for the authorities to continually monitor the threat and act when needed. For each of these applications, we will test the models and statistical data analytics that are used in one partner nation across the other geographic settings, investigating what approaches will work under what circumstances, and what would need to change to facilitate more effective use of the data. We will also investigate the risks associated with missing, sparse, or coarsely aggregated data, and evaluate the potential societal benefits of making better quality data more widely available.


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Description We have made progress on achivements in several key areas, including:
- We have implemented a package for processing and anonymising animal movemetn data and have discovered that the use of jitter functions is in most cases more effective than rounding for pseudonymising animal movement data
- We have compiled findings on the challenges and opportunities associated with livestock data within the UK and our Nordic partner nations. Reports detailing these findings are in progress
- We have developped workshop frameworks for staeholder workshops to identify challenges and root causes and have published these online
- We have assessed the accessibilty, reusability, and governance of various animal health data sets and published out assessment online
Exploitation Route Our outputs/outcomes might be useful in many different ways, including:
- Use of our workshop frmaeworks to run similar events in different sectors
- Understanding the status of animal health datasets across our parner nations
- For processing and anonymising animal movement data
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

Title Digivet data sources inventory 
Description An inventory of data sources to be used in the Digivet case studies, along with project documentation that gives them context. FAIRer datasets, in which context and data are stored in linked formats will be produced in next steps of the project, and also published in the Digivet community. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None yet. To be used in further DigiVet work 
Title MoveNet 
Description A package created as part of the DiviVet project for generating network representations for animal movement (and associated) data 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2022 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact None as yet - will be used in upcoming stakeholder workshops