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The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is committed to promoting a sustainable, competitive and safe food supply chain that meets consumers’ requirements. Scientific research is commissioned to generate evidence on which policies and strategies are based, and to provide UK producers with management options that bring their livestock enterprises more in line with the needs of the consumer and regulatory requirements. The principle research programmes within the pig science portfolios have a total value of around £9.2 million. They cover the pig production sciences of nutrition, genetics, reproduction, meat quality and management systems, pig health and welfare, and ways to assess and ameliorate the environmental impact of pig farming. To facilitate uptake of the information generated by the research programmes, a range of knowledge transfer programmes are in place, including fact sheets produced for the Knowledge Transfer for Livestock initiative and the recently established Learning Skills and Knowledge programme. The aim of the Defra Science programme is to ensure soundly based policy, to prepare UK producers for longer–term changes, to make better use of risk management, and to provide the pig industry with tools to achieve improved economic and environmental sustainability.