The National Avian Research Facility (NARF) has been officially opened at the University of Edinburgh's Easter Bush campus.
The £14 million (US$22 million) facility is supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council, the University of Edinburgh, the Roslin Foundation and the Wellcome Trust and provides a resource for UK and international researchers studying chicken health and disease.
At the opening ceremony, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts commented: "In an industry worth £4 billion to the UK economy, employing around 35,000 people, the National Avian Research Facility will enhance the UK's reputation as a world leader in this field."
Researchers at the NARF will study a range of diseases that place a significant economic burden on the food industry, such as Campylobacter and Salmonella.
In addition to conventional avian accommodation, the new facilities contain research laboratories for the production of genetically modified chickens. Future developments at the NARF will include specially designed sterile areas which, together with the conventional avian accommodation and research laboratories, will enable researchers to work to improve human health by reducing food-borne disease.