The CIEL is a £27.7m government investment which delivers world-leading research in livestock health and production to deliver improved food security and farming sustainability.
The aim is to provide a direct link between science and practice to enable the livestock sector to become more innovative and to take advantage of new technologies and cutting-edge research.
New facilities will be created at Nottingham, including a unique dairy unit, which will be equipped with a flexible interior to allow rearrangement of floors, bedding, loafing and feeding facilities.
The Dairy Health and Welfare Unit will be a state-of-the-art centre conducting research on interactions between factors such as the environment, breed, physiology and welfare. Research at Nottingham will examine adaption of the housed environment to enable the development of optimum housing design to maximise animal health, welfare, comfort and productivity.
Other facilities being developed at the University include the Dairy Nutritional Research Unit, a cutting edge nutritional research facility for 100 high yielding milking cows. Cows will be individually fed with continuous recordings being made of feed intake, milk yield, weight and activity, linked to detailed measurements of cow metabolism and physiology.
In addition, an associated laboratory facility is being constructed where research will be undertaken into host pathogen interactions, mammary gland biology, vaccine development and other milking and mastitis related issues.
The centre at Nottingham will be one of 12 specialist research institutes based across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which together will comprise the national CIEL initiative. A wide range of major private sector companies are also involved in the project, including food manufacturers, feed producers and animal health companies. Tesco recently joined the project to become the first retail member of CIEL.
Leading the CIEL project at Nottingham is Martin Green, Professor of Cattle Health & Epidemiology, who stated: “The University of Nottingham is delighted to be taking part in this important project. 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, which is funded through the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and Innovate UK, will be headquartered 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: www.cielivestock.co.uk