Farming News - Ground-breaking livestock innovation centre launched

Ground-breaking livestock innovation centre launched

29 Feb 2016

A new £70 million innovation centre will bring together the food industry and academic researchers to transform the productivity of the UK livestock industry.

The Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIELivestock) has been allocated £31.7 million funding from the Government’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to set up state- of-the-art facilities across the UK, providing the livestock industry with world-beating access to research.

Additional funding from industry for projects in the Centre and investments by the participating research institutions will bring total investment to over £70 million.

Speaking as the Centre was officially handed over from Innovate UK, Sam Hoste, Interim Chief Operating Officer of CIELivestock, said: “CIEL’s objective is to increase the economic performance of UK farming and associated industries by £12 for each £1 spent in research. By bringing together the best research in areas such as breeding, animal health, biotechnology, feeding and genomics the centre will create a state of the art, one-stop-shop for the industry that we expect to increase productivity and drive innovation.”

The universities of Edinburgh (The Roslin Institute), Leeds, Nottingham, Newcastle, Aberystwyth, Bristol, Queens (Belfast) and Harper Adams are receiving investment from CIEL, as well as the UK’s leading research institutes including Rothamsted Research, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Northern Ireland (AFBI), Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Fera and Duchy College.
CIELivestock has been industry led from inception by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).


Private sector companies across the livestock and food industries have also been key to its development, and associate members signed up to support CIEL at its inception include Agrisearch, BSAS, BSAS Industry Association, Cranswick Country Food plc, Devenish Nutrition Ltd, Dunbia Ltd, ForFarmers UK Ltd, Origin Group Holdco Ltd, RAFT Solutions Ltd and XLVets UK Ltd. Significant direction and support has also come from AB Agri, Tesco, Stonegate, The Co-operative Group, Zoetis, Genus plc, and Alltech.

CIELivestock is part of a family of centres launched by the Government, which includes Agrimetrics, the Centre for Crop Health and Production (CHAPS) and Epi-Agri (EPI).


Nick Major, Corporate Affairs Director of ForFarmers and CIEL Interim Board Chairman, said: “CIEL will be the global lead for livestock nutrition, health and genetics, linking transformational research for industry-led innovation with commercial farms on the ground, generating wealth and business competitiveness through the growth in profitability of the UK livestock sector.”

CIEL will:

  • Provide the UK livestock sector with the research capability that it needs on its own doorstep
  • through one entry point, so the industry does not have to go abroad to do work and/or wait for work done overseas to be translated for a UK market
  • Provide an uplift in livestock productivity and exports for the UK and speed up rates of innovation and discovery in livestock R&D Drive improvements in equipment, products and services, working with industry partners to translate new research outputs into practical and exploitable solutions
Encourage and support high growth potential start-up businesses, who can deliver innovation with agility and timeliness Increase the UK’s productivity potential by translating research findings into improved food products and promoting best practice and training and using the industry and academic networks already embedded in CIEL
  • Work with industry and academia to provide succession solutions from undergraduate training to post graduate study, coaching the industry innovators and leaders of the future



Senior leaders across the UK food industry are backing the centre:


Andrew Caines, Group Technical Director, Cranswick plc commented, “I see CIEL as a fantastic opportunity to provide world class research facilities to the UK livestock and meat processing industries. In so doing it will establish a forum that will link leading research providers with forward thinking processors to ensure that the innovative research, for which the UK is renowned, is more easily converted into commercial reality and thereby giving the UK livestock supply chain a real point of difference”


Kim Matthews, Head of R&D, AHDB Beef and Lamb said, “AHDB is delighted that CIEL is finally established. The investment in livestock research facilities in the UK will provide opportunities to take the next steps in animal science to deliver new tools and techniques to our farmers. Bringing together many of the world’s leading animal scientists to work together on problems faced by the livestock sector will catalyse new approaches to help our levy payers to improve the sustainability of their businesses. CIEL will be well placed to deliver AHDB’s R&D programmes.”


Jon Lightner, Chief Scientific Officer, Genus plc commented, “Genus is the world’s leading livestock genetics company selling improved bovine and porcine genetics in over 30 countries worldwide. As a UK-based company, we are very encouraged to see the creation of CIEL and the development of state-of-the-art large animal research and testing facilities within the UK. Such facilities will provide important resources as we develop novel products over the next few years.”


Richard Kennedy, Group CEO Devenish Nutrition explained, “Devenish Nutrition owes its success to research and innovation conducted in collaboration with leading UK academics and we look forward to CIEL contributing to the future development of Devenish Nutrition. I am confident that CIEL will uplift the productivity and profitability of the UK’s livestock industry as a whole through the unique relationship it offers between our leading academics and diversity of industry partners which have committed to CIEL.”


Jason Rankin, General Manager, AgriSearch said, “CIEL will deliver a long overdue and transformative upgrade of the UK’s livestock research capacity. In addition, the integration of scientists, industry and farmer levy bodies in one centre will help ensure that future research meets the needs of farmers and the wider agri-food sector in these most challenging times. AgriSearch is delighted to be a foundation member and we are already developing plans to commission research using the new state-of-the-art facilities.”

Mike Steele, Chief Executive, BSAS said, “CIEL is truly game changing bringing together the UK research capabilities in livestock science to redirect industry R&D back to the UK. BSAS is delighted to be a part of this exciting initiative as a critical component of linking academia and industry to deliver impact for the livestock sector.”

Jonathan Statham, Chief Executive, RAFT Solutions Ltd added, “CIEL is hugely important because the so-called valley of death between the UK’s world leading blue sky research institutions and their effective translation and application into industry and UK benefit has existed for too long. CIEL offers a transformational opportunity to coordinate the world leading science just at a time when the industry is under great pressure and offers optimism and positive opportunity to make UK Agri-tech a world leader once again.”

Ian Nanjiani, Head of Research at Westpoint Research, part of the Origin group said, “Research and innovation are essential for a successful livestock industry in our changing world, and are bedrocks of our livestock businesses. CIEL combines the talents and facilities of world leading research institutes, universities and organisations active in the fields of agriculture and animal health and we are delighted to be part of CIEL as foundation members. The combined facilities, knowledge and expertise of the consortium members means CIEL is ideally placed to address the challenges facing sustainable food production in the UK. We are very much looking forward to making our contribution within CIEL to build the new knowledge and understanding that will keep the UK at the forefront of sustainable food production.”

Professor Martin Green is leading on the project for The University of Nottingham. He said, “We are delighted to be taking part in this important project. We have a team of dedicated academics with a wealth of experience in livestock research at Nottingham. We are all looking forward to working closely with colleagues in industry and academia, in order to find innovative new solutions to the issues facing livestock producers and food manufacturers.”

CIEL will be head-quartered at the National Agri-Food Innovation Campus near York. It will be hosting a day specifically for industry members in May 2016 and a wider industry conference in the Autumn. Details of these events and the Centre in general will be posted on the website