Page last updated at 06:24 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 07:24 UK

Boost for global warming research

Ibers' headquarters
Ibers formed out of a merger announced in May last year

A multi-million pound grant has been awarded to help forge an alliance between two Welsh universities working on problems posed by climate change.

The Welsh Assembly Government's 23.5m investment will support a 55m project bringing together scientists at Aberystwyth and Bangor.

The two universities are already working together studying the impact flatulent cows have on global warming.

The funding will pay for buildings and facilities for research and teaching.

New scientific and management posts at both Aberystwyth and Bangor will be created as well.

The money will be spent by the newly formed Institute for Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Ibers) at Aberystwyth and the College of Natural Sciences at Bangor University.

This investment by the assembly government and the research council will help us understand and tackle those grand challenges
Jane Hutt

The alliance between the two will deliver the largest group of biological, environmental and rural scientists in the UK and makes them major global competitors, claims the assembly government.

In addition, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is investing 14m at Ibers.

Education Minister Jane Hutt will announce the funding at the Royal Welsh Show on Monday.

She said living with climate change, renewable energy, global food security and plant and animal diseases were "the grand challenges for the 21st century".

She added: "They impact globally and locally on our health and well being.

"This investment by the assembly government and the research council will help us understand and tackle those grand challenges."

'Front rank'

Ms Hutt said it would help raise Wales' reputation in the field of research, and had a "long-term impact on science, society and the economy".

Steve Visscher, interim chief executive of the BBSRC, welcomed the announcement.

He said: "By combining these strengths the new grouping has the opportunity to build a centre of excellence that can make an impact not only in Wales and the rest of the UK but globally."

Professor Philip Gummett, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, said he expected the alliance to place Aberystwyth and Bangor universities in the "front rank of research organisations globally in this crucial field".




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