The (re)emergence of new and challenging animal and zoonotic diseases and the increase of international trading exchanges of live animals and foodstuffs are bringing to an increased demand for effective veterinary surveillance systems, assuring the maximum efficiency in the use of the available limited human and financial resources.

In this context, the major challenge is the development of scientific sound methods for the assessment of main risk factors influencing the diseases occurrence and spread, to properly facilitate the design and implementation of risk-based surveillance activities. In addition, infectious diseases do not recognise political borders and therefore national strategies alone can be ineffective in preventing introduction or controlling spread of these infectious diseases. A Consortium of Institutes from 4 countries, with extended experience in epidemiology, statistics, mathematics, GIS, modelling and veterinary field investigations, will develop an integrated decision tool, based on different epidemiological modelling approaches and risk assessment techniques, for the design of cost-effective, risk-based surveillance systems.