Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences

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The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) is a department of Aberystwyth University, and is located in the town of Aberystwyth on the west coast of Wales, on Cardigan Bay. It has a remit for teaching, research as well as business innovation in the area of land use and the rural economy. Taught undergraduate degree schemes offered by the Institute include those in Agriculture, Animal Science, Countryside Management and Species Conservation, Equine Science, as well as Tourism Management.[1] The Institute has approximately 500 undergraduate students, approximately 40 postgraduate students, 28 full-time lecturers and a similar number of part-time associate-lecturers [1]. The Institute has three research groups: Environmental Ecology, Animal Science and Rural Development. In addition, the Institute is also the home to the Organic Centre Wales,[2] as well as the Farm Business Survey [3] unit of the Welsh Assembly Government.

IBERS has a complex history of mergers. The Institute of Rural Sciences was created in 1995 from the merger of the Welsh Agricultural College (also located in Aberystwyth since 1970 and funded by Welsh local authorities) with the University's Department of Agriculture. The current Institute has taken over the Welsh Agricultural College site and buildings, now called the Llanbadarn Campus of the University,

Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research[edit]

The Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) was one of eight research institutes funded by the United Kingdom's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and was based at Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales but independent of the University.

IGER was originally the Welsh Plant Breeding Station, which had been established in 1919 under the guidance of Sir George Stapledon. Initially based at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, WPBS moved to Plas Gogerddan in 1953 when it was officially opened by the Queen.

Bronydd Mawr was acquired as part of the WPBS in 1983 to conduct research into sustainable beef and sheep systems for hills and uplands.

Formed in 1990, IGER included the main laboratories and administrative centre at Plas Gogerddan near Aberystwyth plus sites at North Wyke near South Tawton, Devon and Bronydd Mawr near Trecastle, Powys. Another site at Hurley, Berkshire, was closed in 1992. At the same time farm facilities at Trawsgoed were acquired. The Institute consisted of three research departments:

  • Plant, Animal and Microbial Science
  • Plant Genetics and Breeding
  • Soil, Environmental and Ecological Sciences

As of 1 April 2008, IGER was also absorbed by IBERS (the fate of staff and any redundancies is unknown by this editor).[4] This merger has led to one large department for the life-sciences.

Upon the merger with Aberystwyth University, the North Wyke site ceased to operate as part of IGER and became a component of Rothamsted Research.[5]

SucraSEED is a commercial exploitation of High Sugar Grass seed which was originally developed at IGER.


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