Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (UK)

Rodrigo Olave

Michelle Allen

Dario Fornara

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Northern Ireland is a government-funded research institute, and is the second largest agricultural research institute in the UK, employing approximately 700 staff across 7 sites in Northern Ireland (NI). AFBI NI It has a wide variety of facilities and scientific capability in agriculture, plant health, environment, biosciences, biometrics, and economics, conducting a wide range of projects for both the public and private sectors. The Institute provides scientific research and services to government, including statutory and reference testing, and offers advice and research to support policy development.

In terms of sustainable land use and management, AFBI focuses on seven key areas: (1) reducing uncertainty in the UK GHG inventory and generating regional emissions factors for NI and the rest of UK; (2) understanding the factors controlling GHG emission production and their transformation processes; (3) quantifying indirect GHG emissions from ammonia (NH3) volatilisation and nitrogen leaching; (4) evaluating strategies for reducing NH3 and GHG emissions from fertilisers, manures and grazing returns; (5) investigating the potential for soil carbon sequestration to offset GHG emissions from agriculture; (6) protecting plants and ecosystems from pests; and (7) the sustainability of farm woodland systems.

AFBI’s agroforestry research unit has two excellent on-farm demonstration sites for research extension and outreach activities. Its aim is to research the ecological interactions within silvopastoralism. AFBI’s agroforestry nnit was formed in the mid-1980s and is part of the UK Agroforestry Research Network, the UK National Network Silvopastoral Experiment (NNE), and several national and internationally-funded projects.

AFBI is involved in technology transfer, promoting agroforestry through local government advisory service, and - through participation in an all UK agroforestry groups - assisting in establishing demonstration sites. AFBI’s Statistical Services Branch (SSB) provides statistical consultancy, advice and training for AFBI’s research programmes, as well as to external actors. Collectively, the SSB has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in data analysis using linear, generalised linear and mixed models, the development of statistical models for prediction and forecasting, the design and analysis of experiments and surveys, time series, repeated measures, multivariate analyses, epidemiological and sensory evaluation studies.

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