The Welsh assembly is to invest £23.5m in the new Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth.

Education minister Jane Hutt announced the award to the bioscience centre on the opening day of the Royal Welsh Show in Builth wells.

Formed by the merger of the Institute of Grassland Environmental Research and Aberystwyth University’s Institutes of Biological Science and Rural Affairs, IBERS has more than 300 staff involved in research and education and an annual budget of over £20m.

New posts

The funding will provide new research and teaching facilities at the University’s Penglais campus and allow the creation of new scientific and management posts.

The new set up also includes a strategic alliance with Bangor University.

Some of the research projects already underway include finding animal feeds that lead to less harmful emissions and improve meat quality, and producing kits for farmers to test animals for animal diseases, including liver fluke.

Scientists are also developing bio-fuel crops that do not affect global food production and breeding grasses and cereals that are resilient to climate change.