Restructure at AFBI to see new research division created

Plans are afoot to make major changes to the internal structure of Northern Ireland’s Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

The reorganisation will see the creation of a new, third scientific division – Environment and Marine Sciences.

The Environment and Marine Sciences division will be based at AFBI’s Newforge Lane site and will take on some projects currently overseen by the existing Veterinary Sciences and Sustainable Agri-Food Science divisions.

It will allow the institute to focus on more specialist research and bolster its resources towards an area of growing importance.

The move will also have more practical benefits for staff, such as sharing the load of governance and administration duties.

The Environment and Marine Science’s remit will include AFBI’s current work in the areas of agri-environment, marine and aquatic ecosystem sciences.

Issues affecting agriculture such as water quality, and soil science, are likely to be moved.

However, projects such as work to research methods to mitigate ammonia and carbon emissions from agriculture could be shared across divisions.

Search for a director

The institute is currently recruiting for a new director to head up the new division. The senior figure will be expected to provide vision, scientific leadership and strategic direction for the division and will report directly to the chief executive.

A spokesman for AFBI said: “The decision to move to three science divisions and to appoint a director of Environment and Marines Sciences followed an organisational review and reflects the increasing importance and amount of scientific work undertaken by AFBI in the agri-environment, marine and inland waterways areas.”