Oat breeding programme shortlisted for business award

Dr Athole Marshall

Dr Athole Marshall

21 October 2014

The award winning plant breeding team at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) has been shortlisted in the Economic Impact category of the Insider Business and Education Partnerships Awards 2014 for its work on oats.

IBERS is one of the final five contenders in the category which looks at the project or scheme involving a company or companies and academic(s) that has had the greatest economic impact.

Varieties of oats developed by IBERS account for 65% of all oats used in the UK each year. Oats are used extensively for human and animal consumption and the market is growing at around 5% per year.

It is estimated that IBERS’ contribution to the UK market generated more than £19million Gross Value Added for the UK economy in 2012/13 and supported more than 800 jobs. (BIGGAR Economics report 2014)

Dr Athole Marshall, Head of Plant Breeding at IBERS said; “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Insider Business Award. Aberystwyth University’s Oat Breeding Programme and its predecessors, has been underway at IBERS since the early 1900s and has been responsible for the introduction of many of the oat varieties familiar to consumers in the UK today.

These oat varieties are developed collaboratively with a long-standing strategic commercial partner Senova Ltd. in Cambridgeshire. Being shortlisted for this award is testament to the dedication and talent of the oat breeding team and the collaboration with Senova and industry across the oat supply chain.”

The Awards are sponsored by Arloesi, Finance Wales, Universities Wales  and Hugh James Solicitors. The Awards Ceremony will take place in Cardiff City Hall on the 5th of November.

IBERS is an award winning Institute within Aberystwyth University. Colleagues working on the BEACON project won the prestigious European Commission RegioStars Award in 2014, and the grass breeding team at IBERS won the Times Higher Education Award in 2013 for Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology for the Aber High Sugar Grasses.