Livestock farming is increasingly in the spotlight because of its impacts on the environment and human health. Global livestock production, specifically ruminant farming, has been associated with land use change, methane emissions, climate change, deforestation and biodiversity loss. At the same time, consumption of livestock proteins exceeds total human protein requirements for a healthy diet in most European Member States.
However, ruminants can convert biomass unsuitable for direct human consumption (e.g. grass resources) into valuable food, including essential macro and micro-nutrients for humans. While grazing, ruminants contribute to: maintaining the landscape and, in specific local conditions, to; enhancing biodiversity and increasing carbon sequestration.
The contemporary industry challenge is therefore to develop livestock production systems that simultaneously enhance environmental sustainability and support a healthy diet. This is a knowledge-intensive process. Therefore, this European Industrial Doctorate (EID) programme – HEARTLAND\ will connect one of the most notable industry to the cutting-edge scientific knowledge while maximising the impact of the programme by working closely with experts in communication (to multiple audiences) and dissemination (to potential end-users).
The objectives of HEARTLAND\ can be summarized as follows:
1. To train a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative PhD graduates in the multidisciplinary topic of soil-to-society
2. To design, implement and evaluate a soil, sward, and grazing farm management system aimed at maximising the positive impact on the environment, improving the nutritional and sensory quality of meat, and consequently improving human health in component and systems research
3. To upscale the findings to contribute to the sectoral development of sustainable production systems and land management
4. To communicate, disseminate and exploit the findings