IBERS generates £365m economic benefit

The National Phenomics Centre greenhouse at IBERS, Aberystwyth University

The National Phenomics Centre greenhouse at IBERS, Aberystwyth University

10 June 2014

Every £1 of public funding invested in Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) generated £12.18 of benefit for the UK economy in 2012/13.

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

That’s the conclusion of an independent report analysing the impact of the internationally recognised research and teaching centre at Aberystwyth University by leading independent economic consultancy BIGGAR Economics.

The report highlights how fundamental and applied research has already made an impact and how it will continue to do so.

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, unquantifiable benefits both within the UK and overseas.

Highlights include:
•        Commercialisation activity generated more than £14 million GVA for the UK economy and supported almost 250 jobs. IBERS has strong and long-established relationships with a wide variety of industrial partners that enables it to play a fundamental role in supporting the productivity of the UK agri-food sector.

•        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 £6.3 million in seed sales.

•        Each year graduates from IBERS take what they have learned while studying into the workplace, helping to improve the productivity of UK industry. This productivity benefit can be measured by the additional income earned by graduates because they have a degree. It was estimated that this productivity improvement contributed more than £23 million GVA to the UK economy in 2012/13.

•        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 £19million 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.”

The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)
IBERS is an internationally recognised research and teaching centre providing a unique base for research in response to global challenges such as food security, bioenergy and sustainability, and the impacts of climate change. IBERS scientists conduct basic, strategic and applied research from genes and molecules to organisms and the environment.

IBERS receives strategic research funding from the BBSRC to support long term mission driven research, and is a member of the National Institutes of Bioscience. IBERS also benefits from financial support from the Welsh Government, DEFRA and the European Union.

IBERS works with both academic and industrial partners, developing and translating innovative bioscience research into solutions designed to mitigate the impacts of climate change and plant and animal diseases, and deliver renewable energy and food and water security.