Livestock innovation centre launched

Dairy cows
Dairy cows

A new £70 million innovation centre will bring together the food industry and academic researchers to transform the productivity of the UK livestock industry.

The Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIELivestock) has been allocated £31.7 million funding from the Government’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to set up state-of-the-art facilities across the UK, providing the livestock industry with world-beating access to research.

Additional funding from industry for projects in the Centre and investments by the participating research institutions will bring total investment to over £70 million.

Speaking as the Centre was officially handed over from Innovate UK, Sam Hoste, Interim Chief Operating Officer of CIELivestock, said: “CIEL’s objective is to increase the economic performance of UK farming and associated industries by £12 for each £1 spent in research. By bringing together the best research in areas such as breeding, animal health, biotechnology, feeding and genomics the centre will create a state of the art, one-stop-shop for the industry that we expect to increase productivity and drive innovation.”

The universities of Edinburgh (The Roslin Institute), Leeds, Nottingham, Newcastle, Aberystwyth, Bristol, Queens (Belfast) and Harper Adams are receiving investment from CIEL, as well as the UK’s leading research institutes including Rothamsted Research, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Northern Ireland (AFBI), Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Fera and Duchy College.

CIELivestock has been industry led from inception by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). Private sector companies across the livestock and food industries have also been key to its development, and associate members signed up to support CIEL at its inception include Agrisearch, BSAS, BSAS Industry Association, Cranswick Country Food plc, Devenish Nutrition Ltd, Dunbia Ltd, ForFarmers UK Ltd, Origin Group Holdco Ltd, RAFT Solutions Ltd and XLVets UK Ltd. Significant direction and support has also come from AB Agri, Tesco, Stonegate, The Co-operative Group, Zoetis, Genus plc, and Alltech.

CIELivestock is part of a family of centres launched by the Government, which includes Agrimetrics, the Centre for Crop Health and Production (CHAPS) and Epi-Agri (EPI).

Nick Major, Corporate Affairs Director of ForFarmers and CIEL Interim Board Chairman, said: “CIEL will be the global lead for livestock nutrition, health and genetics, linking transformational research for industry-led innovation with commercial farms on the ground, generating wealth and business competitiveness through the growth in profitability of the UK livestock sector.”

CIEL will:

o Provide the UK livestock sector with the research capability that it needs on its own doorstep through one entry point, so the industry does not have to go abroad to do work and/or wait for work done overseas to be translated for a UK market

o Provide an uplift in livestock productivity and exports for the UK and speed up rates of innovation and discovery in livestock R&D

o Drive improvements in equipment, products and services, working with industry partners to translate new research outputs into practical and exploitable solutions

o Encourage and support high growth potential start-up businesses, who can deliver innovation with agility and timeliness

o Increase the UK’s productivity potential by translating research findings into improved food products and promoting best practice and training and using the industry and academic networks already embedded in CIEL

o Work with industry and academia to provide succession solutions from undergraduate training to post graduate study, coaching the industry innovators and leaders of the future.