Major backing for livestock research centre

Industry figures will discuss the planned Centre for Innovation and Excellence at Fera near York next month.

Industry figures will discuss the planned Centre for Innovation and Excellence at Fera near York next month.

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MULTI-MILLION pound plans to establish a national livestock research and development centre have received “fantastic” backing ahead of an industry meeting in York to take the scheme forward.

More than 80 companies and nearly 30 industry organisations have thrown their weight behind the bid to create a Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Livestock (CIEL).

The next step forward is a workshop on Friday, June 5 at Fera - the Food and Environment Research Agency - at Sand Hutton near York for potential industry investors to refine the proposal.

The meeting aims to attract leading industry figures to take an active role in developing the CIEL to bring the greatest benefits for the livestock industry.

Andrew Knowles, AHDB/BPEX head of technical, who has co-ordinated the bid, said: “The bid is now at the stage where the industry needs to take ownership to develop the CIEL bid. It is important for as many backers as possible to attend the meeting at Fera.

“This is a unique opportunity for the livestock industry to put itself at the front of global research and development.

“The timescale has been short but the support we have received from across the livestock industry has been fantastic.

“Everybody is committed to making this bid a success to take the industry into an exciting future.”

The overall industry-led submission is for a £34million investment in the UK livestock research and development sector and to establish a single UK-wide centre.

The money will be matched over five years by commitment from industry partners in the form of cash and in-kind investments in research.

The outlay will also be co-funded by academic institutes over five years to realise a total investment of more than £83m, equalling the money requested from government.

The Centre of Excellence would be intended to bring together:

Multinational and small companies in the animal breeding, animal health, feed and nutrition and technology sectors;

Major UK companies involved in the production, processing and marketing of livestock-derived products;

UK levy boards and umbrella organisations working on behalf of livestock producers and some processors;

Twelve leading research providers from across the UK, including all the devolved administrations, in the animal sciences, veterinary medicine, animal health, consumer safety and product quality sectors.

Leading veterinary service companies, veterinary schools and a network of R&D focused commercial farms for research trials and demonstration of techniques.

The application for the centre was submitted on April 1. The proposal will be reviewed later this month.

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