The Veterinary Research Institute based in Brno was founded on 10 September 1955 by the decree of the Minister of Agriculture as an institution of the Czechoslovak Academy of Agricultural Sciences, with a state-wide authority. Before the Institute’s establishment, veterinary research was conducted by the former Veterinary College, in conjunction with other activities. During the following two years, preparatory work was carried out. The 12 ha building plot was selected in Medlanky, a north-west suburb of Brno. The construction of the complex began in 1958. This included three buildings with laboratories, an administration building, experimental animal facilities, residential buildings and miscellaneous buildings. For several decades, the VRI research teams have tackled substantive research questions, including the control of the most common diseases of farm animals (leucosis, tuberculosis, brucellosis, mastitis, metabolic and reproductive disorders, etc.) and built a significant reputation in veterinary medicine and animal production in the Czech Republic. In January 2007, the VRI became a public research institute by decision of the founder, i.e. the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic. In recent years, renovation of the Institute’s buildings has been initiated.
At the present time
, the VRI is the only centre of research specialized in veterinary medicine in the Czech Republic and one of the few in Europe, which can conduct the most demanding studies with the right balance between basic and applied research due to the professional level of its teams, methodological basis and instrumentation. Its investigations cover all types of farm animals, whilst the control of diseases of cattle, pig and poultry is its top priority. However, we also focus our efforts on other animal species.
The importance of the Veterinary Research Institute and justification of its operation remain unchanged. This is not only because, amongst others, health disorders are the limiting factors to farm animal production and prosperity of farmers, but also because a great deal of attention all over the world has been focused on the control of zoonotic diseases and other diseases; promotion of principles for herd production and preventive medicine; development of a methodology for collection, processing and use of data on disease prevalence; antimicrobial resistance; food safety guarantees; and development of vaccines and other professional activities. As a consequence, the VRI plays an indispensable role in this broad range of research fields in the Czech Republic.
Due to the fact that global demand for food is increasing steadily because of the growing number of human population and mounting food consumption in developing countries, the strategic importance of foodstuffs will be increasing in the future. Developed countries strive to reach food self-sufficiency and promote the export of their surplus products, which together increases the growth and prosperity of their rural areas. These countries systematically support their own agricultural production and related important research fields. A similar approach is also promoted in the Czech Republic with the emphasis being put on farm animal health control and food quality. This helps justify the existence of VRI´s operation. However, the Institute’s core activity is delivering high quality research and dissemination of research results to both the academic community and practical users in the agricultural and food industry.
The Institute has accredited animal facilities to carry out research using farm and laboratory animals. Another specific facility to perform experiments is the biosafety level 3 laboratory, which provides almost the highest level of containment laboratory for work with high-risk microorganisms. The VRI’s Collection of Animal Pathogenic Microorganisms includes almost 600 viral strains and more than 1300 bacterial strains. The Institute has laboratories equipped with advanced instruments such as chromatographs with mass spectrometers; flow cytometers; sequencers; and microscopes for scanning and transmission electron microscopy. There is also technology for in-vitro imaging of live organisms. This equipment allows scientists to carry out comprehensive research in the fields of genomics, proteomics, lipidomics and metabolomics.