The foot and mouth disease virus (FMDV) is one of the most contagious viruses in domestic livestock, including cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.
A major outbreak in 2001 caused a crisis in British agriculture and tourism – with 2000 confirmed cases in farms across the country and more than 10 million sheep and cattle slaughtered.
Professor Martin Ryan, professor of translational virology at St Andrews University, will lead the £5.6 million study.
He said: “Success would stimulate the routine use of vaccine to control foot-and-mouth disease virus around the globe. This would reduce the global incidence of foot and mouth disease with enormous economic and social value worldwide.”