Earlier this year and before the arrival of COVID-19, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Hillsborough welcomed 170 GCSE and A-Level students from a range of schools throughout Northern Ireland to their 3rd annual Schools Open Day.
Throughout the open day the key role that science plays in improving the sustainability of the agricultural industry was demonstrated both through short talks and a guided tour of the research farm.
AFBI scientists and PhD students showcased their innovative research into improving the sustainability of livestock production with topics ranging from the nutrition of dairy, beef and sheep animals, nutrient and slurry management, the bio circular economy and the mitigation and measurement of greenhouse gases. Throughout the day, students were also able to see how novel technology is being used within agricultural research, whether it be a robotic milking parlour to monitor behaviour and productivity of dairy cows, thermal imaging cameras for early identification of ill health or global positioning system (GPS) collars to monitor grazing behaviour in sheep.
AFBI were also pleased that colleagues from the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) were on hand to inform students on the wide range of career pathways within the agri-food industry and of the courses that CAFRE offer across their three campuses in Northern Ireland. It is hoped that events such as these will give students an insight into a career within science and indeed the wider agri-food industry.
The next Schools Open Day is planned to take place in early 2021 and any school wishing to attend should register their interest with Carolyn Wilson at AFBI.
Notes to editors:
AFBI is an arms-length body of DAERA delivering research and development, diagnostic and analytical testing, emergency response capability and expert scientific advice for DAERA and other government departments, public bodies and commercial companies in Northern Ireland, and further afield.
AFBI’s Vision is “Advancing the Local and Global Agri-Food Sectors Through Scientific Excellence”.
AFBI’s core areas:
- Leading improvements in the agri-food industry;
- Protecting animal, plant and human health;
- Enhancing the natural and marine environment.