At its inaugural Innovation Symposium held in London on Wednesday 20 September 2017, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) launched ViVet, an ambitious and wide-ranging programme designed to ensure veterinary professionals are at the forefront of innovation in the animal health sector.

ViVet was inspired by Vet Futures, the research initiative run jointly by the RCVS and the British Veterinary Association. This research identified the need for veterinary professionals to seize the opportunities offered by innovation to transform the way they work and to widen access to veterinary services.

Managed by the RCVS, ViVet (derived from the Latin word ‘vivet’ meaning ‘it will thrive’) will provide a variety of resources and support to help the professions keep pace with change and remain at the forefront of animal healthcare provision.

Chris Tufnell, RCVS Senior Vice-President, helped develop the scope of the ViVet programme during his presidential year. He said: “This is an ambitious project for the College to embark upon but also very important for the future relevance and survival of the professions. Technology in the animal health sector is developing rapidly, such as the growth of telemedicine, wearable and implantable devices to gather health-related data from our animals, and low-cost genomic sequencing.

“These technologies could have a disruptive effect on the veterinary sector, so it’s important to encourage and support veterinary input at an early stage to enable the professions to shape their development and ensure that animal health and welfare is a foremost consideration.

“ViVet will help veterinary professionals to engage proactively with innovation in animal health, so that they can embrace and drive change and are not side-lined by it.”

Accompanying the launch of the project was the launch of its website (www.vivet.org.uk) which already contains a number of resources – including blogs and case studies – to showcase new technologies and innovative business models.

Anthony Roberts, Director of Leadership and Innovation at the College, said: “The aim of these resources is to help veterinary professionals harness the immense opportunities that innovation can bring to animal health and welfare by providing practical advice on areas such as launching new products and services and, in turn, encourage innovators to think about how the expertise and knowledge of the veterinary professions could input into new technologies.

“Furthermore, the programme will also help the College gain insights into the animal health market and how it is evolving. This will allow us to develop a regulatory framework that is relevant and adaptable to 21st century technology, while continuing to foster and support responsible innovation.”

ViVet will also continue to organise events like today’s live-streamed symposium, which brought together thought-leaders from across the animal health, technology and business sectors, and provided a forum to discuss the opportunities and threats presented by innovation in the veterinary sphere, the impact it may have on the professions and how they are regulated.

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