JUNE 12, 2009: There are fears of a crisis in poultry research in Britain because of a serious shortage of young people specialising in the science.

Edinburgh researcher Murdo MacLeod says recent years have seen the globalisation of the poultry sector and it is now a huge industry. “For every person in the world, there are 16 broilers and nearly one layer bird.” Mirroring this has been the globalisation of poultry research. Dr MacLeod is the editor-in-chief of British Poultry Science journal, and 50 years ago about 90% of the papers submitted were from UK research centres. Now the UK only accounts for 8%, with China being the biggest submitter with 14% of papers. However, only 34% of Chinese papers are currently accepted for publication, while it’s 74% for UK papers. This shows the difference in quality, but this gap is closing and the sheer number submitted means more are being published, he said. “There has been a big shift in where science is carried out in the world and the overseas poultry industry will be better supported by science as the quality of science overseas continues to improve,” he said.