Aberystwyth University, UK has a long established reputation in the entire farming world for its teaching and research in agriculture for over 120 years. It has been the largest land-based university in UK with over 2500 acres of farm land that has now increased to 6000 acres with the acquisition of a research farm in Wales.
The Agricultural Degree and Diploma courses are provided by Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological and Rural Science (IBERS). IBERS is also the home of the Farm Business Survey of Wales, where surveys are taken up incorporating financial and physical data from a representative sample of around 600 farms in Wales. It is also the home for the Organic Centre Wales, which delivers projects to support the organic sector.
The University’s farms are used for commercial purposes as well as for teaching and research. The students of the university also benefit from the Institute’s outstanding range of expertise and resources, including world class laboratories, farms, animal houses and staff.
The University offers a range of Agriculture degree courses designed to satisfy particular interests and career aspirations. The general Agriculture degree scheme and the more specialized Agriculture with Animal Science, Agriculture with Countryside Management and Agriculture with Business Studies schemes are also available as four-year courses including a sandwich year.
The University also offers its students to take part in student exchanges in Europe, North America and a few other countries of the world. IBERS offers its students an opportunity to study for one semester at Purdue University, Indiana, USA, a global leader in education and research in Agriculture.
Not surprisingly, according to the Times Good University guide, 2012, Aberystwyth University was ranked 1st in terms of student satisfaction and an overall ranking of 6th among UK universities that offer courses in Agriculture and related subjects (http://www.university-list.net/uk/rank/univ-9003.html).
Research at IBERS:
Aberystwyth University possesses a long and distinguished record of undertaking cutting edge research in a broad range of disciplines of both national and international significance. The University has an excellent range of facilities and resources to assist with research activities including four substantial libraries, access to a wide range of electronic information sources, and the vast resources of the prestigious National Library of Wales on its doorstep.
IBERS carries out high quality, novel internationally important science in plant, animal and microbial sciences, agriculture, cell biology and physiology, genomics parasitology, ecology, plant and animal breeding/reproduction, social sciences and evolutionary processes together with integrating expertise to enable holistic and systems approaches.
One such example of a research undertaken by IBERS is the use of the Miscanthus crop as an ideal energy crop where it produces a high yield of biomass. The whole research is centered around the mix of renewable energy technologies that is needed to replace fossil fuels and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause anthropogenic climate change. Biomass from energy crops like the Miscanthus is important because in addition to being able to provide electricity and heat through combustion, biomass can be used to make petroleum replacements such as liquid transport fuels and platform chemicals. More information regarding the research can be found here.
Another research that is being carried out by the University is regarding the Animal Systems. The Animal Systems group consists of scientists studying more efficient ways of producing high quality animal products with emphasis on ruminants (dairy, beef and sheep). The group also specialises in companion equine science. The group has expertise in animal nutrition, animal genetics, farm animal systems including economics and equine nutrition, behaviour and reproduction. (More information can be found here).
No wonder, IBERS was ranked 3rd in UK in Research Assessment Exercise (http://www.university-list.net/uk/rank/univ-9003.html) and is a preferred destination for researchers in agricultural and biological sciences.