Royal honour for Scotland’s Rural College

Published Thursday, 30th November 2017 in Research news

SRUC Dairy cows Crichton farm
Pictured: Dairy cows at the Crichton Royal Farm

World-leading research recognised with Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

The world’s longest-running study into breeding the ideal dairy cow has led to Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) being awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education – the highest form of national recognition open to educational institutions in the UK.

Professor Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC, today (30 November) hailed the honour as recognition of the college’s “unique contribution to scientific excellence, impact and innovation”.

Although the prize is awarded to the institution as a whole, SRUC’s submission was built around the long-term dairy genetics study based around its Langhill dairy herd – the world’s longest running dairy study.

The Langhill herd and its benefits

Established in Edinburgh in the early 1970s and based in Dumfries and Galloway since 2002, the herd is a unique international resource for dairy cattle genetics, with studies providing valuable data on issues including milk yields, fertility, welfare standards and dairy farming’s impact on climate change.

SRUC’s research underpins many of the international developments in dairy genetic improvement and dairy cow management and has led to the adoption of new breeding goals for dairy cattle that improves the health, welfare and economic performance of livestock in the UK and beyond.

The work is supported by the Scottish Government through the Environment, Agriculture and Food Strategic Research Programme, with the study to date estimated to have benefited the British dairy industry by more than £400 million.

Queen’s Anniversary Prize and SRUC

Part of the British honours system and awarded every two years by The Queen on the Prime Minister’s advice, Queen’s Anniversary Prizes recognise and celebrate outstanding innovative work within UK higher and further education institutions along with its beneficial and practical effect. 

Prof Powell called the Langhill herd study a perfect example of the world-leading research carried out by SRUC, which has six campuses and eight farms and research centres across Scotland.

He said: “Being awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize is a huge honour for everyone at Scotland’s Rural College and reflects both the quality of our research and the commitment of our staff. The Langhill herd serves as a perfect example of the broader picture of our world-leading research.

“One of SRUC’s core strengths is making scientific discoveries and translating them into meaningful improvements, not only for the rural communities of Scotland, but for the entire world. We are extremely proud to receive a Queen’s Anniversary Prize and it further cements SRUC’s reputation as a centre for innovative and educational excellence.”

Prof Powell and Prof Dave Roberts, SRUC’s Knowledge Exchange Director, will this evening attend a special event at St James’s Palace, where all of this year’s winning institutions will be announced.

This will be followed by a reception and dinner at the Guildhall, City of London, on 21 February 2018 and a formal investiture at Buckingham Palace, also in February 2018.

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