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News and Testimonials

Interview with Kate Hovers, Vet 

Kate is a 61-year-old livestock vet based in Powys. Kate was not looking for a qualification but was taken with the idea of being able to fit studying around her busy life. She says:

‘I saw the Bioinnovation courses advertised and thought that I would like to do something more academic. It’s good to keep your brain active as you get older’

Although she is qualified as a vet, this was quite some time ago and Kate was keen to get to grips with what ‘sustainability’ could mean for the livestock sector.  She was interested in learning more about Life Cycle Assessment, Public Goods and Precision Livestock and has now taken all of these modules. She was also interested in how to convey sustainability messages to farmers. She says:

‘My first module was Behaviour Change, which I knew very little about. I think this is a subject that is important for anyone. For me as a vet, it was particularly helpful in understanding how to engage with farmers and also gave me an understanding of why I behave the way I do. It inspired me to take more modules and commit to doing a research project.’

Kate did have some concerns about what it would be like to be a student again after all this time:

‘I did struggle with the first assignment as I hadn’t done any academic work since the 90’s – and no one had computers when I did my degree, so it’s a very different way of studying’

She is fairly IT savvy but was a little worried about learning online. She says:

‘I didn’t really know what to expect. I was a bit concerned about my broadband speeds because I live on a farm and sometimes find it difficult to stream films, but this hasn’t been an issue with the lectures. I was worried about reading papers online too, but that is something I’ve got used to’

Kate is not only busy in her role as a vet but also trains other vets, sits on various advisory panels and is the Chair of the National Sheep Association Cymru. So how did she find time to study? Kate says:

‘The format works well because students can choose how much work they want to do. Obviously if you want to work towards a qualification, you need to set aside some time each week. I usually spend 2 afternoons and 1 evening per week studying. It’s great because you can choose when to study’

Kate is already busy using what she has learned in her work. She says:

‘The Public Goods module has been really useful in my work with the NSA and in engaging with Welsh Government on policy relating to hill farms’

‘I have used some of what I learnt in the Precision Livestock module in training other sheep vets’

‘The techniques I leant in the Behaviour Change module are useful in all my work’

From just being interested in taking a couple of modules to learn about sustainability, Kate has now signed up for an MRes so that she can undertake a substantial research project to help improve livestock health and welfare, a big step towards reducing waste and increasing sustainability. Kate says of BioInnovation:

‘It has given me renewed enthusiasm for the rest of my work’

Our First Graduate!

Interview With Carol Adams, 2020


Why did you join the BioInnovation Wales programme?

What were you hoping to get out of your involvement in BioInnovation Wales?

What BioInnovation Wales modules have you studied and what are the key things you have learnt?

What did you like about BioInnovation Wales?

To what extent is BioInnovation Wales meeting your expectations?

What effect has learning with BioInnovation Wales had on you?

Was there anything about BioInnovation Wales that has changed what you do?

What has been the greatest benefit of studying with BioInnovation Wales?

What are you planning to do after BioInnovation Wales?

What plans do you have for your business after BioInnovation Wales?


IEMA Accreditation

BioInnovation Wales, an EU-funded project run from Aberystwyth and Swansea Universities has been approved as an IEMA University Partner, joining an expanding network of universities coming together to drive a change to a more circular economy. IEMA is a professional body for anyone working in environment and sustainability and is committed to supporting, encouraging and improving the confidence and performance, profile and recognition of all these professionals.

The accredited course (MSc in BioInnovation) entitles students to free student membership to IEMA for the duration of the course and on successful completion, a qualification of GradIEMA. Graduate membership is a launchpad for future leaders within the environment and sustainability sectors and offers a range of benefits to support students throughout their career. Additional benefits to Student Members include networking opportunities, events and webinars and access to up-to-date publications, news and resources.

BioInnovation Wales is looking forward to working with IEMA and to welcoming new students that are keen to develop their knowledge of environmental management and sustainability.


Learning Design Bootcamp Press Release

The BioInnovation Wales team is one of only six in the UK to be chosen to attend the Learning Design Bootcamp, a prestigious, intensive four-month programme aimed at engaging academics and learning technologists in module development and design. Aber will join teams from Keele University, St George’s University of London, University College London, University of Exeter and University of Surrey for the programme, hosted this year by Manchester Metropolitan University between March and July. They will be supported by expert mentors, and use the CoDesigns framework to improve a module and gain new insights into learning design. Our team is Dr Peter Wootton-Beard (lead academic), Jake Henry (lead learning technologist), and Meirion Roberts (Welsh language tutor) from the BioInnovation Wales distance learning project in IBERS. The team aim to use the opportunity to incorporate cutting edge pedagogy and learning technology into their Research Methods module. This bilingual module supports postgraduate students in developing their research projects and includes contributions from many colleagues.  The team plan to present their experiences at the forthcoming Learning and Teaching Conference.   

Teaching team leader for BioInnovation Wales, Dr Neil Mackintosh said…

“This is a great opportunity for us to learn from experts at the cutting edge of learning design, to improve our modules, and to deliver the best possible experience we can for our students. I’m looking forward to hearing the outcome of the programme from our team when they return, and the opportunity to share new insights with colleagues throughout the university”.

What our Students Say...

Interview with Ed Morgan, Castell Howell Foods, Nov 2019

Interview with Sarah Ivens – Food Centre Wales, June 2019

Sarah Ivens

"As a team at Food Centre Wales we recognise that it’s really difficult to get businesses to engage with innovation. We see our role as looking ahead at upcoming technology and being able to disseminate new information to the industry. We saw the BioInnovation courses as a way to update our knowledge so we could better cascade this to our clients.

I was quite apprehensive about coming back into education again. I was mainly worried about how I’d be able to manage to find the time to study but actually it’s been great! All the staff have been really supportive and encouraging and the online lectures and key papers are really easy to access. The lectures are really interesting and because they are cut into short 20 minute videos, I can easily dip in and out when I have a quiet moment in the day or in the evening; and I’ve loved the access to scientific journals that the course provides.  Now that I’ve got the hang of learning online, I’m using my time much more effectively.

I have completed the Future of Packaging module – the content is excellent! There is a big gap in everyone’s knowledge on this. Everyone wants to do the right thing and it’s unclear as to what this is! The module gave me really good insight to the plastic cycle, deepened my knowledge of the many packaging conundrums; and has pointed me towards what I need to know. I also gained an understanding of EPRs and some of the wider issues surrounding Waste Management.

I am now taking the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) module which leads on really nicely from Packaging and provides some of the answers to the packaging issues by looking at its end-of-life scenarios. The LCA module has really opened my eyes to the range of free tools out there for carrying out LCAs and I will definitely be recommending these to clients, especially in the red meat supply chain.

I’m planning on taking the Behaviour Change module next so that I can put what I’ve learned into practice and help businesses to change how they are approaching these problems. Ultimately I’d like to take the Research Masters, I realise that I am taking more taught modules than I need to for this qualification, but they’re just so interesting!"

Exemplary Course Award, July 2019

We are proud to announce that our first BioInnovation module, Future of Packaging; and our Research Methods module have both received Highly Commended awards at Aberystwyth University’s Exemplary Course Awards.

Well done team!