Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

I have been based with SRUC’s R&D division for >15 years and am currently leading SRUC’s Beef and Sheep Research Centre.  My research interests focus predominantly on understanding and optimising the productive efficiency of ruminant production systems (mainly beef and sheep, but also dairy). 

My key interests include: 
•    Optimising feed efficiency 
•    Characterising greenhouse gas outputs from ruminant production systems which are relevant to UK farming  
•    Reducing the environmental impact of beef production systems (improved efficiency, mitigation strategies)
•    Development and application of Precision Livestock Farming solutions for continuous, automated and real-time monitoring of individual animal productivity, health, welfare and their environment. I am also interested in combining technologies and integrated datastreams to develop appropriate decision support platforms. A large proportion of my work involves collaborating with industry to deliver innovative solutions.
•    Optimising supply chain chain efficiency from farm to fork through the use of data and digital innovations. 
•    Optimising the final product, from a carcass and meat quality perspective (sensory quality and nutritional value).

I have extensive experience of collaborating and leading multidisciplinary programmes of work engaging across both industry and academia. I have a publication history of over 40 peer-reviewed publications. I am former chair of the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) Strategy and Innovation Committee, current member of BSAS Awards committee, current director of the Scottish Accreditation Board, current member of KTN's livestock advisory board and review editor for Frontiers in Animal Science (Precision Livestock Farming). 


I have responsibility for delivery of undergraduate teaching and supervision/co-supervision of undergraduate projects and PhD students.

  • Lecturer and module leader for BSc Agriculture
  • Lecturer BSc Animal Science
  • Guest lecturer (various programmes UK and internationally)


  • PhD Student 2020-2024:  "Improving the efficiency of beef production through the use of precision farming technologies and machine learning techniques". EastBIO CASE,  Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. Joint with University of Edinburgh.
  • PhD Student 2020-2024: "Novel approaches to improving calf health: new technology and data analytics".  EastBio; Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. Joint with University of Edinburgh.
  • PhD Student 2009-2013: "Reduction of Energy Usage and Nitrogen Losses in Pork production – Genetics and Growth Models". Joint with Wageningen University.
  • Regular supervisor for BSc dissertation projects


  • 2021-2023 Bulgarian Government and Trakia University. GreenAnimo (£58k). Co-I with Marie Haskell.
  • 2021-2021 BEIS SBRI (Greenhouse gas removals (GGR) research programme). Green-Shed (£210k). PI.
  • 2021-2021 DEFRA. Methane-inhibiting livestock feed supplements: review of net impacts, barriers to success and consumer acceptance (£85k) PI.
  • 2020-2021 Zoetis Ltd. Developing a Health-related Quality of Life Tools for bovine respiratory disease. (£149K) Co-I with Marie Haskell.
  • 2020. ClimateXChange Scotland's Centre of Expertise connecting climate change research and policy: Methane-reducing feed additives. A rapid evidence assessment of two feed additives – Bovaer and Agolin Ruminant for reducing enteric methane emissions. (£25k) Co-I with John Newbold.
  • 2020-2025. Novo Nordisk Foundation. SuPA(cow): Sustainable production of animals by optimising the feed-microbiome-host axis. (£264k). Researcher with Rainer Roehe.
  • 2019-2021 Scottish Government. "Greed-shed": precision technology solution to mitigate methane emissions from ruminant systems. (£203k). Co-I with Rebecca Audsley.
  • 2019-2021 InnovateUK. WellCalf: Improving health and welfare of dairy calves. (£744k) PI.
  • 2019-2023 InnovateUK. OPTI-BEEF: Precision agricultural solution to monitor lifetime productivity and product quality (£1.3M). PI.
  • 2019-2023 DEFRA; ERA-GAS, FACCE, SusAn, ICT-AGRI 2. Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) Technologies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity of pasture-based cattle systems. (£250k) Co-I with Richard Dewhurst
  • 2019-2021 Scottish Government KTIF. Beef marbling in a high value supply chain. (£49k). Co-I with Nicola Lambe.
  • 2018-2022 EU Horizon 2020. (INFRAIA-2017-01 call, 2018-2022). SMARTCOW: An integrated infrastructure for increased research capability and innovation in the European cattle sector. (£365k) Co-I with Richard Dewhurst.
  • 2017-2019 SARIC NERC. Novel animal-mounted sensor technology to improve efficiency and sustainability. (252k) PI.
  • Rural and Environmental Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) Strategic Programme (Scottish Government, 2016-2021). Theme 2, Sustainable Land Management and Rural Economies (RD 2.2.9, 2.3.1, 2.3.6, 2.3.9). 
  • 2016-2020 AHDB Beef and Lamb. Enhanced monitoring systems for improved health management of dairy-bred beef youngstock (£234K) PI.
  • 2016-2017 Innovate UK. Geolocation tracking of extensive livestock systems. (£200k) PI.
  • 2015-2018 Innovate UK. Precision Beef. (£1.3M) PI.
  • 2014-2018 Innovate UK. Beef Monitor. (£1.3M) PI.
  • 2013-2016 AHDB Beef and Lamb. Lifetime growth pattern and beef eating quality (“Growth Path”). (£164k). Co-I with Jimmy Hyslop
  • 2012-2015 AHDB, Beef and Lamb. NUTRIBEEF: Nutritional improvements using diets and novel feed additives to enhance overall efficiency of beef production including meat quality and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions as identified by characterisation of the rumen microbial population. (£247k). Co-I with Rainer Roehe.


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