Pioneering oats team in line for top accolade.
THE pioneering plant-breeding team at Aberystwyth University's Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) has been shortlisted for an award for its economic success developing healthy oats.
IBERS is one of the final five contenders in the Economic Impact category of the Insider Business and Education Partnerships Awards 2014 for its in-depth research and development of oats.
If you had muesli, porridge or a cereal bar for breakfast this morning, the chances are the oats were developed at IBERS.
Varieties of oats developed by IBERS account for 65% of all oats used in the UK each year.
For the last 20 years, their research has been leading a major study to develop new and improved varieties of oats which could help lessen the danger of heart disease. The oat market is significantly increasing and is set to increase further as more consumers turn to oats as part of a healthier diet. The UK market for hot-oat cereals is worth over PS160m and Oats So Simple alone is worth PS84.5m.
Oats are used extensively for human and animal consumption and the market is growing at around 5% per year. It is estimated that IBERS's contribution to the UK market generated more than PS19m Gross Value Added for the UK economy in 2012/13 and supported more than 800 jobs, according to the BIGGAR Economics report 2014.
Dr Athole Marshall, head of plant breeding at IBERS, said: "We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Insider Business Award. Aberystwyth University's oat-breeding programme has been underway at IBERS since the early 1900s and has been responsible for the introduction of many of the oat varieties familiar to consumers in the UK today.
"These oat varieties are developed collaboratively with a longstanding strategic commercial partner Senova Ltd in Cambridgeshire. Being shortlisted for this award is testament to the dedication and talent of the oat breeding team and the collaboration with Senova and industry across the oat supply chain."
The awards ceremony will take place in Cardiff City Hall on November 5. The grass-breeding team at IBERS won the Times Higher Education Award in 2013 for outstanding contribution to innovation and technology for Aber High Sugar Grasses.