Insight from BSAS conference 2023

Friday, 21 April 2023

At the end of March, the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) conference brought together 300 industry stakeholders, research funders, policymakers, researchers and students, all interested in animal science.

An exciting element of the programme that AHDB led is the Developing Talent session, which had the prime slot at the start of the conference. Attendees heard from early-career researchers working to improve the health and performance of livestock, six of whom are funded by AHDB.

In addition, there were presentations from a further eight AHDB-funded students over the course of the conference.

Kim Matthews, Head of Animal Breeding and Product Quality at AHDB and outgoing president of BSAS, chaired several sessions over the three days.

“I joined the Developing Talent session for much of the first day, and it is always encouraging to hear the latest research from PhD students and early-career researchers.

“Their enthusiasm and the obvious need for evidence from animal science to address the challenges facing the livestock sector makes for an exciting future.”

The President’s sessions went on to examine what different audiences need from animal science and provide examples of research that has been done and is underway to address those needs. 

Mr Matthews continued:

“There is a clear need to balance food production with the provision of public goods.

“Meat and dairy products make an important contribution to the human diet. Animal science is needed to help farmers deliver that while reducing their impact on the environment, as well as helping provide biodiversity through appropriate levels of grazing in conservation areas.”

Student views

Two of the AHDB-funded students who presented at BSAS were Beth Riley, who is studying at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and Thomas Clough, who is studying at the University of Nottingham.

Talking about the event and her PhD, Beth said:

“I really enjoyed talking about my research again at BSAS. It's a great chance to meet other researchers and find out about research in your own field as well as in a wide variety of others. The support AHDB gives me provides me with additional and valuable opportunities to meet other researchers.

“I really enjoyed the President’s session discussing how important animal science is to the rest of the world.

“My project is centred around using calf behaviour and novel diagnostics to detect bovine respiratory disease and neonatal calf diarrhoea. I am hoping that next year I will be able to present some of my exciting neonatal calf diarrhoea results.”

Thomas (pictured below) added:

“The BSAS 2023 conference provided me with the opportunity to network with fellow AHDB students, as well as experts from the wider industry. I enjoyed sharing my research again and having more in-depth discussions after my presentation. The Developing Talent sessions were particularly engaging, with early research being shared on a large range of species and research techniques.

“My research involves the development of a sheep production systems model specific to the UK industry. The aim is to improve overall flock management and performance. I am grateful to AHDB for this opportunity to share my research and engage with individuals from the wider research community.”

Find out more about the PhDs that AHDB is funding

Find out more about BSAS

Image of staff member Kim Matthews

Kim Matthews

Head of Animal Breeding & Product Quality

See full bio