Cambrian News photographer - Justin Webb talks to Kirsty Williams AM during the Today show

RESEARCH by staff and students from Aberystwyth University has been showcased on a special edition of a flagship BBC radio programme.

The Cambrian News reported “Radio 4’s Today programme was broadcast live from the campus on Thursday, with Justin Webb co-presenting the programme from the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, with Martha Kearney presenting from London.

On air from 6am to 9am, the three-hour broadcast featured Arwyn Edwards from the university’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) and two of his PhD students sequencing DNA from samples of soil from Mr Webb’s garden in London and university vice-chancellor, Prof Elizabeth Treasure’s garden in Aberystwyth.

Their findings were announced live at the end of the Today programme and showed the differences between the two samples, including the fact that the soil from Aberystwyth was 10 times more acidic than the sample from London.

Dr Edwards, a researcher and senior lecturer in biology, also talked about the wider applications of sequencing the DNA of soil – a programme that has been researched heavily at the institute for several years.

A selection of wheat, oats and other resistant plants from IBERS were also on show during the programme, with Mr Webb interviewing Dr Fiona Corke about her work as glasshouse manager of the National Plant Phenomics Centre at Gogerddan.

The programme also looked in detail at the new system of student finance and maintenance grants which will be introduced in Wales in September.

Prof Treasure was interviewed about the reforms during the programme, along with the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams AM, and Prof Sir Ian Diamond, vice-chancellor of Aberdeen University who chaired the review of student finance.

If you missed the programme or want to listen again, it’s available on the BBC iPlayer Radio until 15 June at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b2gspbhere.

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