BEES hosts a diverse research community. The overarching driver for research in BEES is the topical ‘trilemma’ created by the societal demands for:
- a healthy environment (BEES research in geology, biodiversity, water and habitats)
- sustainably produced high quality food (BEES research in crops, aquaculture, and fisheries)
- sustainable, reliable energy and resource supplies (BEES research in hydrocarbons, renewables, raw materials and crops)
The mission statement of the School of BEES is “To advance and apply our understanding of the natural world through excellence in research, teaching and innovation”. The research strategy is fully aligned with university, national and EU research strategies and prioritisation areas.
School research activities are at the North Mall Campus, including the Butler Building, Enterprise Centre, Cooperage and surrounding areas with the geology/geophysics garden, rock store, glasshouses, fish ponds, boats and land for field experiments.
Additionally, there are sedimentology and ecology labs, and aquaculture facilities in the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) and wet-lab facilities at Lough-Hyne National Marine Reserve. The research infrastructure is operated as a School facility that is shared by all.
Infrastructure and platform technologies include general research laboratories, a microscopy suite (including SEM and digital facilities), laboratories for palynology, plant pathology, molecular biology (2 labs) and isotope work, a postmortem facility for cetacean and seal studies, chemical analysis facilities including HPLC and GC-MS, facilities for genome and proteome analysis, marine and freshwater holding facilities, plant growth rooms, rock cutting and thin sectioning facilities and a School workshop.
As part of the School’s research strategy, identified strengths are thematically grouped to provide critical mass to do research of international quality; considering generated outputs, expertise and relevance to National and European Research priorities. The four research themes are (1) Biodiversity and resource management, (2) Sustainable food and energy production, (3) Environmental health and protection, and (4) Geosciences. The two pillars comprise research in “marine” and “terrestrial and fresh water” environment. Research in themes and pillars spans organisational scales (from gene to Earth systems), combines laboratory and field studies, and integrates disciplines.