CIEL | Pig Research Capability

Productivity | Nutrition | Health & Welfare | Behaviour | Reproduction

World-leading research capability for the monogastric sector

Challenges facing the pig sector include disease prevention, requiring novel antibiotic replacements and stringent biosecurity measures, market volatility, compliance with regulations and improving the environmental footprint – whilst producing pork efficiently and meeting consumer expectations. All these factors are critically important to improve farm profitability and position pork as a nutritious and safe product. 

Expertise includes 

Nutrition, immunology, gut physiology & metabolism, reproductive physiology 

Experimental design and data analysis 

Animal behaviour and welfare 

Precision farming 

Intensive and extensive production systems 

Additional expertise and facilities to support the pig sector are also available through the following CIEL academic partners: Harper Adams University; Queen’s University Belfast; Newcastle University; University of Bristol; and University of Nottingham.

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    The National Pig Centre is the UK’s largest and most advanced facility for research into pig nutrition, behaviour, welfare & health, and production systems.

    Unique in the UK, housing both indoor and outdoor research pig herds on a commercial scale, the centre allows for comparisons across both production systems to support all UK pig production. Both indoor and outdoor herds are reared to the highest health and welfare standards.

    Start-of-the-art instrumentation allows monitoring of individual feed intake, feed efficiency, and physiological, environmental, health, behaviour and welfare parameters.


    The AFBI Hillsborough pig unit offers specialist pig production research capability designed to conduct detailed scientific investigations in the areas of production, nutrition, welfare and meat quality.

    The 150 sow herd based at AFBI Hillsborough is managed as a commercial herd. The research facility offers the capability to enable sows and pigs to be individually fed whilst group housed.


    The SRUC Pig Research Centre has two farrow-to-finish pig units, specialising in high quality animal health and welfare research, knowledge transfer and education.

    The high health, high welfare Easter Howgate pig unit offers commercial buildings that can host experiments as well as dedicated research facilities offering greater flexibility and control in terms of feeding, housing, group sizes, temperature, ventilation and flooring.


    Find out about all our pig capability in the full CIEL Monogastric brochure featuring details of the research capability available, technical specifications, video walkthroughs and case studies.