Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences

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Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences
Former names
Welsh Plant Breeding Station, Institute of Grassland and Environmental Sciences
Established 1919
Type Agricultural Sciences
Director Mike Gooding
Location Aberystwyth, Wales
Affiliations Aberystwyth University

The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) is a department of Aberystwyth University, and is located in Aberystwyth, Wales. It has a remit for teaching, research as well as business innovation in the area of land use and the rural economy.


IBERS is currently situated on two main sites. The main teaching activity takes place at the Edward Llwyd building on the university's Penglais campus and the majority of its research activities take place at the far larger Gogerddan campus, two miles to the North East of Aberystwyth, near Penrhyncoch and Bow Street.


Taught undergraduate degree schemes offered by IBERS include those in Agriculture, Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Zoology, Plant Biology, Veterinary Biosciences, and Equine Science. IBERS offers a range of taught postgraduate courses and, in partnership with Bangor University, offers a distance learning postgraduate programme in Sustainable and Efficient Food Production. The Institute has approximately 500 undergraduate students, approximately 40 postgraduate students, 28 full-time lecturers and a similar number of part-time associate-lecturers.


IBERS has three research themes: Animal and Microbial Science, Environmental Impact and Genome Diversity. The institute has a state of the art translational genomics facility and is home to the BBSRC National Phenomics Centre.

Plant Breeding[edit]

IBERS has active breeding programmes for forage and amenity grasses, forage legumes, grain legumes, oats and miscanthus.


IBERS' history is one of a complicated series of mergers.

University College of Wales (UCW)[edit]

The University College of Wales (UCW) opened in 1872 with classes in biological sciences starting in 1874. Its department of Agriculture opened in 1891.[1]

Welsh Plant Breeding Station (WPBS)[edit]

The Welsh Plant Breeding Station was established in 1919 under the guidance of Sir George Stapledon. This was possible due to an intial donation of £10,000 from Laurence Philipps, 1st Baron Milford, with a further £1,000 for the following ten years.[2] The WPBS was initially based at Alexandra Road in Aberystwyth as a department of UCW, with land at Penglais Farm and Frongoch Farm.[3] The station moved to new premises on Penglais hill in 1939 to a building on Penglais hill, since renamed Aberystwyth University's Cledwyn building and housing various service departments of the university. The Institute was subsequently moved to Plas Gogerddan, near Bow Street, in 1955 when it was officially opened by the Queen.

Grassland Research Institute (GRI)[edit]

The Grassland Improvement Station was established at Drayton, near Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, England. In 1949 it moved to a new site at Hurley, Berkshire and was renamed the Grassland Research Institute (GRI). GRI acquired the North Wyke site in Devon in 1981.[4]

Welsh Agricultural College (WAC)[edit]

In 1970, the Welsh Agricultural College (WAC) was founded in Llanbadarn Fawr, near Aberystwyth. WAC merged with the Agriculture department of UCW in 1995 to form its Institute of Rural Sciences.

Animal and Grassland Research Institute (AGRI)[edit]

In 1985, GRI and the National Institute for Research in Dairying were merged to form the Animal and Grassland Research Institute (AGRI).[4]

Institute of Grassland and Animal Production (IGAP)[edit]

WPBS ceased to be part of UCW in 1987 as part of restructuring of the Agricultural and Food Research Council funded research. The WPBS facilities at Gogerddan and Bronydd Mawr and the AGRI sites at Hurley and North Wyke were combined with parts of the Poultry Research Centre at Roslin to form the Institute of Grassland and Animal Production (IGAP).[5]

Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER)[edit]

Further restructuring took place three years later with cessation of pig research and the transfer of the poultry department to the Institute for Animal Physiology and Genetics Research at Roslin. The remaining part was Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) retained the facilities at Gogerddan, North Wyke and Bronydd Mawr as well as the Hurley site which closed in 1992.[6] At the same time farm facilities at Trawsgoed were acquired.

Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)[edit]

In April 2008, IGER merged with Aberystwyth University's Institute of Biological Sciences and its Institute of Rural Sciences to form the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, one of the largest departments for the life-sciences in the UK.

Directors of the Institute[edit]

Welsh Plant Breeding Station[edit]

  • Sir George Stapledon 1919-1942
  • T.J. Jenkin 1942-1950
  • E.T. Jones 1950-1958
  • P.T. Thomas 1958-1974
  • J.P. Cooper 1975-1983
  • R.Q. Cannell 1984-1987
  • J.L. Stoddart 1987

Institute for Grassland and Animal Production[edit]

  • J. Prescott 1987-1988
  • J.L. Stoddart 1988-1990

Institute of Grassland and Rural Sciences[edit]

  • J.L. Stoddart 1990-1993
  • Chris Pollock 1993-2007
  • Mervyn Humphries 2007-2008

Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences[edit]

  • Wayne Powell 2008-2014
  • Mike Gooding 2014-present


  1. ^ Davies, Russell (2008), "Landmarks in agricultural, biological and land-based studies at Aberystwyth", IBERS Knowledge-based innovations (Aberystwyth: IBERS) 
  2. ^ Thomas, P.T. (1969), "Fifty years progress at the Welsh Plant Breeding Station", Jubilee Report of the Welsh Plant Breeding Station (Aberystwyth: University College of Wales) 
  3. ^ Valentine, J. (2009), "90 Years of the Welsh Plant Breeding Station", IBERS Innovations (Aberystwyth: Aberystwyth University) 9 
  4. ^ a b Humphreys, Mervyn (2007), "Director's Introduction", IGER Annual Report (Aberystwyth: AFRC) 
  5. ^ Stoddart, J.L. (1986), "Director's Report", Welsh Plant Breeding Station Annual Report (Aberystwyth: University College of Wales) 
  6. ^ Stoddart, J.L. (1989), "Director's Introduction", IGAP Annual Report (Aberystwyth: AFRC) 

External links[edit]