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Blogs from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council: UK grant funding agency for academic research and training in biotechnology and biological sciences.

The beginning of the week marked the move of one of my postdocs, Irena Spasić, who – based on some very nice work recorded in papers such as this and this – has secured a lectureship in Computer Science at Cardiff.

I then attended part of the programs of each of our 4 Research Committees, who were meeting near Windsor for the present grants round. It was as ever pleasing to see the high quality both of the great bulk of the applications and of the detailed discussions about the many proposals received.
Continue reading: Food and fuel for the next generation

Among last week’s engagements was the excellent launch of our joint programme (with DfID and the Scottish Government) entitled Combating Infectious Diseases of Livestock in Developing Countries (more manageably: CIDLID). Livestock are often the chief assets of the rural poor, and their diseases can consequently be particularly devastating. CIDLID will provide ca £13M of research investment via 16 grant proposals, each  involving researchers based in the UK and in appropriate developing countries. As with the eradication of Rinderpest (considered to be worth $1Bn per annum), to which we contributed significantly (PDF), the potential gains could be huge.
Continue reading: Combating infectious diseases, photographs and memristors

It is reasonable to argue, and I have done so, that Science proceeds via an iterative process involving both analysis and synthesis. One of my pleasurable events this week was an invitation to the Rank Prize Fund awards, where both were in evidence. Lord Rank’s interests had covered both Agri-Food (“Rank Hovis McDougall” in my childhood and beyond) and cinematography (“The Rank Organisation”, famous for the gong, whose true audio history I heard at a lecture at school ca 1969 from Jimmy Blades and is here), and the awards are targeted to these areas.  The three sets of winners had (i) pioneered non-invasive methods for assessing lactation in vivo, (ii) worked out a significant part of the molecular basis of gluten intolerance, and (iii) were the originators of the excimer-laser-based corneal correction of vision. (I was especially interested in the latter, as during the 1970s my uncle had pioneered the development of ruby lasers in treating detached retinas.)
Continue reading: Biology as analysis and synthesis

Last week involved 2 days of interviews, on which announcements will be made in due course, the first for the Directorship of the John Innes Centre and the second for future members of Council. The latter is an annual event, and I would encourage readers of this blog to consider the best ways to make themselves and colleagues aware of the opportunities to join our Council. As someone who did previously serve on BBSRC Council for 6 years, I can certainly confirm that it is an interesting, illuminating and worthwhile activity.
Continue reading: Interviewing, international, and inspiring the next generation

Unlike the Spartoí, born of dragon’s teeth, Strategic Plans do not spring fully formed from the earth. Ours, which was launched this week with an accompanying video, represents the culmination of considerable work and extensive consultations with our community and with our Strategy Panels and Strategy Advisory Board. Indeed the formal consultation phase attracted more than 120 written replies from individuals and organisations. Under the strapline the Age of Bioscience, the resulting document (PDF) both celebrates the strength and importance of UK Bioscience, and sets out a most exciting vision of how BBSRC science can continue to contribute hugely to the health and wealth of the nation (and globally). As part of our continuing consultation, reactions to the strategic plans are invited via this blog or via twitter.
Continue reading: Strategic plans, ageing and food security




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