The University of Nottingham will be taking the lead for dairy research as part of a new £27.7m national Centre of Innovation in Livestock (CIEL).
CIEL is a government funded initiative which aims to deliver world leading research in livestock health and production to deliver improved food security and farming sustainability.
The aim of CIEL is to provide a direct link between science and practice to enable the livestock sector to become more innovative and to take advantage of new technologies and cutting-edge research.
Novel facilities will be created at Nottingham, including a unique dairy unit, which will be equipped with a flexible interior to allow rearrangement of floors, bedding, loafing and feeding facilities.
The Dairy Health and Welfare Unit will be a state-of-the-art centre conducting research on interactions between factors such as the environment, breed, physiology and welfare.
Animal health and welfare
Research at Nottingham will examine adaption of the housed environment to enable the development of optimum housing design to maximise animal health, welfare, comfort and productivity.
Other facilities being developed at the University include the Dairy Nutritional Research Unit, a cutting edge nutritional research facility for 100 high yielding milking cows. Cows will be individually fed with continuous recordings being made of feed intake, milk yield, weight and activity, linked to detailed measurements of cow metabolism and physiology.
In addition, an associated laboratory facility is being constructed, where research will be undertaken into host pathogen interactions, mammary gland biology, vaccine development and other milking and mastitis related issues. The centre at Nottingham will be one of 12 specialist research institutes based across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which together will comprise the national CIEL initiative.
Private sector partners
A wide range of major private sector companies are also involved in the project, including food manufacturers, feed producers and animal health companies. Tesco recently joined the project to become the first retail member of CIEL.
Leading the CIEL project at Nottingham is Martin Green, Professor of Cattle Health & Epidemiology. Speaking about the project, he said: “The University of Nottingham is delighted to be taking part in this important project. We have a team of dedicated academics with a wealth of experience in livestock research at Nottingham.
"We are all looking forward to working closely with colleagues in industry and academia, in order to find innovative new solutions to the issues facing livestock producers and food manufacturers.”
Depth of research expertise
Dr George Baxter, Director of Business Engagement and Innovation Services at The University of Nottingham, added: “We have a tremendous depth of expertise in agricultural research and innovation here at Nottingham. We are very pleased to have been selected to play such a key role in the CIEL, and are excited at the prospect of forging new relationships with all of the businesses involved in the project.”
CIEL, which is funded through BIS and Innovate UK is part of the government’s Centres for Agricultural Innovation initiative - a new collaborative model between the agri-tech sector and government.
The aim is for these centres to provide the support and expertise require to help turn agricultural innovations into commercial opportunities for UK businesses, and to also improve the economic performance of farming nationally through the development and uptake of technologies, knowledge and practice.
For more information about the Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock CIEL, visit www.cielivestock.co.uk To find out about dairy research at The University of Nottingham’s, contact Professor Martin Green, on Martin.Green@nottingham.ac.uk
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also the most popular university in the UK among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the World’s Top 75 universities by the QS World University Rankings.