Introduction by Institute Director Mike Gooding
It gives me great pleasure to introduce this second volume of Biology that Delivers. Our mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of people through research, education and engagement activities. Through IBERS we believe that keeping humans healthy and contented depends also on delivering a healthy environment, healthy plants and animals, and healthy businesses.New investments in IBERS for 2017 include: laboratories for veterinary pathology; cutting-edge capabilities to reduce the environmental impact of ruminant production and to improve quality of livestock products; a strategic programme of research funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to improve the resilience of crops in the face of environmental and political change; and the launch of our new Well-being and Health Assessment Research Unit (WARU) undertaking research activity to promote health and well-being in the community. IBERS continues to develop the next generation of professional biologists through its research-led teaching. New taught programmes linked to the health chain for 2017 include: BSc Wildlife Conservation; BSc Human Biology and Health; and MSc Biotechnology. As we approach 2019, and the 100th anniversary of the start of plant breeding at Aberystwyth, it is apposite that coverage is made in the following pages of our continuing commitment to crop improvement. Our leading position in developing and using perennial crops is contributing to our mission, represented here by forage grasses and clover, and the energy grass Miscanthus. Grasslands are the foundation for the world’s most important food production systems based on perennial species.
Located in mid-west Wales, we have ﬁrst-hand experience of how perennial systems can provide stunning places to live and work: generating wellbeing, amenity value and a diversiﬁed rural economy. In a post-Brexitworld, it will be increasingly important that resources are used as eﬃciently as possible, and that the ecosystems on which we all depend are protected. There are many ways through which the productivity of our ﬁelds can help meet the demands of synthetic, fuel and ﬁbre industries, as well as the requirements for food, without compromising our landscape and heritage. Beyond the perennial crops, we have signiﬁcant research programmes for oats, peas and beans. For all of our crops, improvements are being made to help meet societal challenges of feeding a growing population in the face of environmental change; reducing reliance on fossil fuels and other ﬁnite resources; developing the bio-economy from the rural sector. To do this eﬀectively it is essential that products are delivering beneﬁts for consumers safely and securely. There are several examples in this issue of Biology that Deliversof how intervention in the food chain can beneﬁt society, whether through plant breeding, livestock system development, or in the processing chain. More than ever, it is important that our science not only contributes to potential productivity, but also to stable and resilient development. IBERS embraces multi-disciplinary approaches, along with many of our local, national and international partners to improve environmental sustainability, food security, health and wellbeing. It is essential that public, commercial and student investment in universities provides tangible beneﬁts, people and answers to meet the challenges facing society. In IBERS we are committed to meeting these challenges head-on with Biology that Delivers.