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Pig Industry Welcomes 'Academia & Industry Link'

by 5m Editor
18 June 2009, at 9:42am

UK - The country's largest pig breeding company, JSR, is supporting the recent change in the way the government is making higher education more accountable to industry.

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) has been disbanded after two years and is changing its emphasis to link business with higher education. This will fall under a new government department, lead by Lord Peter Mandelson, designed to help build Britain's capabilities to compete in the global economy.

Tim Rymer, Chairman of JSR, welcomes the changes. He said: "This move should ensure a closer relationship between academia and business requirements and encourage higher education to be more accountable for the product it delivers to business.

"It is crucial that industry invests in new science and R&D and that the Government recognises and supports the importance of such investment. We need links between educational organisations and industry to be encouraged, through well structured polices, that bring about a greater degree of unison and purpose.

"The opportunity to utilise the wider science community to help deliver value to the pig sector must not be missed and finally the government is recognising the value of translating new science to business - both within and outside the pig industry."

During the last five years, JSR has been involved in a series of joint ventures with educational organisations across the country:

  • Scientists at the University of Leeds joined forces with JSR Genetics in a project to improve embryo implantation rates and develop non-surgical embryo transfer in pigs with subsequent benefits to human fertility studies.
  • PhD student, Kate Fowler, of the University of Kent Biosciences Department, is sponsored by JSR to undertake research that will eventually enable producers to tailor pigs to specific markets by using genomics to aid understanding and knowledge on how and when fat is laid down on the carcass.
  • JSR helped Harper Adams University College to double the size of its pig unit to significantly strengthen its research capabilities. In choosing JSR stock, unit manager, Richard Hooper, wanted to replicate high output commercial units and ensure research projects continue to be relevant to today's high performance pigs. Mr Hooper has recently been nominated as Farmers Weekly Pig Producer of the Year 2009.

"We are looking forward to working with this new department to help implement new science and technology to deliver stability and profitability and secure a competitive future for the UK pig sector," concludes Mr Rymer.