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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 16:37 GMT
Research centre to make job cuts
Grassland (generic)
Some of Iger's work centres on developing grassland
A grassland research centre which has worked on projects at some of the UK's top sporting venues, is to cut 40 jobs after losing major contracts.

Aberystwyth's Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (Iger) is making redundancies to offset a 3m drop in income.

Staff, which include scientists, were told of the redundancies on Friday.

In the past, it has worked on developing the pitch at the Millennium Stadium and Wimbledon's centre court.

Among the major contracts which have recently been lost include one from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which has previously spent 1m with Iger.

Iger, which employs some 300 people, also has research sites near Brecon in Powys, and in Devon, which could also be affected by the cuts.

Iger's director, Professor Chris Pollock, said: "I obviously regret strongly that these steps are necessary and I will do everything I can to minimise the impact on both staff and the institute's research programme

"But we need to act quickly if the institute is to remain financially and scientifically sustainable."

Plaid Cymru's Ceredigion AM Elin Jones said Iger was a "valuable asset".

She added: "This is disappointing news for Iger and for the 40 or so workers who face losing their jobs. Iger is an important institution in this part of the world - offering good quality employment."

Currently, Iger has a turnover of 17m per year.

It is one of seven research institutes in Britain sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

In 1999, Prof Pollock said Iger looked at ways of preserving the turf at the Millennium Stadium. It has also helped develop grass seeds for Wimbledon's centre court.


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