The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) is the government-funded agricultural research organisation (public body) in Northern Ireland. AFBI undertakes assigned research work programmes on behalf of the NI Dept. of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). AFBI employs approx. 700 staff across 7 sites in N. Ireland. Its core functions are to deliver a programme of statutory testing, surveillance, emergency response, research and development and scientific advice to DAERA, enabling compliance with national and EU legislation, and supporting policy development. AFBI also carries out externally-contracted scientific work, with 40% of its income annually coming external sources, including European projects.

AFBI Agri-Environment Branch is one of 10 scientific branches. It has approximately 17 full-time-equivalent scientific staff involved in soil testing and research. Research focuses on 5 areas: (1) developing practical strategies which reduce agricultural emissions to air, soil and water and enhance the environmental performance of farms in the region; (2) identifying factors controlling the biological recovery of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and develop strategies to restore natural biodiversity; (3) developing land-based agri-environmental strategies for managing resources in the circular economy; (4) examining and (re-)defining agricultural and environmental targets for the ‘needs’ of society (trade-offs); (5) identifying strategies for adaptive resilience in farming systems under climate change and concerns over natural resources. The branch manages long-term experiments over several research platforms, yielding large data-sets, supported by an extensive equipment and expertise in carbon monitoring and measurement.


Dario Fornara


Rachael Ramsey


Elaine Groom