Economic benefit of research at IBERS highlighted

12th Jun 2014

An independent report on the BBSRC-funded Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University has shown that every £1 of public funding invested there in 2012/13 generated £12.18 of benefit for the UK economy.

IBERS is strategically funded by BBSRC and generated a total economic benefit of £365M Gross Value Added (GVA) for the UK economy and supported almost 2,450 jobs.

The report, by independent economic consultancy BIGGAR Economics, analysed the impact of the internationally recognised research and teaching centre. It highlights how fundamental and applied research has already made an impact and how it will continue to do so. The full report is available here

IBERS research activity generates a variety of products developed through research, the commercialisation of which generates wealth and supports employment throughout the UK.

The results of research are also used to inform teaching activity at IBERS, which contributes to the productivity of IBERS' graduates and the companies that employ them.

Taken together this activity helps to generate long-term improvements in the productivity of UK agriculture and a variety of wider benefits both within the UK and overseas.

Highlights include:

  • Specialist plant varieties developed by IBERS scientists provide 14% of the total nutritional input required by the 32.6 million cows and sheep reared in the UK each year, and generate £6.3M in seed sales.
  • Varieties of oats developed by IBERS account for 65% of all oats used in the UK each year. It is estimated that IBERS' contribution to the UK oats market generated more than £19M GVA for the UK economy in 2012/13 and supported more than 800 jobs.

Professor April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said; "This report underlines the excellent work that takes place at IBERS and significant contribution it makes to the economy as a whole and to the agricultural sector more specifically.

"Aberystwyth University is committed to building on the success story reported here by BIGGAR Economics.

The University is investing over £100M in new facilities. A key element of this programme is the development of the new £35M Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus at Gogerddan, where much of the research undertaken by IBERS is based.

Backed by the BBSRC, the new facilities for commercial companies and researchers will play a significant role in developing new products, based on modern approaches to plant breeding, that are essential as we address they key issues of food, water and energy security in an ever changing world."

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