The research facility holds different units each with a specific focus, together covering the whole field of animal science (from fish to companion animals and cows and pigs). The facility is suitable for high-tech research, fundamental research, small-scaled, but also for research at farm size level and impact level to its environment.
The focus of the different units are fundamental research (Carus), dairy cows (Dairy Campus), nutrient management (de Marke) and diseases and health (High Containment Unit (HCU)).
The facility provides on the one hand high-tech research equipment such as climate respiration chambers, high speed cameras and adaptable rooms, and unique units to execute high quality animal studies in the field of infectious diseases. Here fundamental research on individual animal or small groups is implemented. On the other hand the facility holds large size units where studies at commercial farm size for dairy cows and pigs can be implemented, as well as the effects on integrated nutrient management. This allows for applied research combining fundamental research breakthroughs to new insights at farm and environment level, essential for new innovations.
The facility contains ten climate respiration chambers ranging in size from 0.3 to nearly 100 m3, and has unique aquatic respiration chambers, to determine the metabolism of fish. This facility can be used for research on energy metabolism (indirect calorimetry), nutrition and digestion, gas emission (CO2, 13CO2, NH3, CH4, N2O etc.) and climate change for both individually and group housed animals for numerous species. It contains special soundproof behavioural observation areas, fitted with audio and high speed cameras. The facility contains a unit unique to execute high quality animal studies in the field of infectious diseases of both animals and man at human biosafety level 3 (hBSL3). The zoonosis section specifically allows the study of infectious diseases that can affect both man and animals. In combination with the specific knowledge and expertise in the field of vaccine development, data analysis and epidemiology this allows for a proposition unequalled elsewhere.
The facility contains a specialised dairy research farm with 550 dairy cows in four units each with a specific research focus, and an integrated dairy farm where data on the whole nutrient cycle at farm level is collected and studied. These units have facilities for research in animal nutrition, greenhouse gas emissions, animal welfare, behaviour, manure treatment, grazing experiments, precision livestock farming, sensor technology, breeding technologies, and a modern data collection system to collect and store individual data. Data are continuously collected.
The continuously updated data structure makes it possible to collect large or complex (real time) data sets (data acquisition), to process applications (data utilisation) for purposes of integration of all data to smarter and more precise system architecture including new forms of automation (robotics).