BBSRC Chief Executive's blog

News from our Chief Executive, Professor Melanie Welham

  • Transforming our future: synthetic biology

    Melanie Welham

    In recent weeks, synthetic biology’s potential to revolutionise a wide range of industries has really come to the fore. As part of their breakthrough science and technologies conference series, a Royal Society meeting entitled ‘Synthetic Biology – does industry get it?’ brought together researchers from academia and industry to reflect on recent progress and the potential transformative impact of synthetic biology. […]

  • International Women’s Day 2017: Be Bold For Change

    Melanie Welham

    Awareness of the importance and benefits that derive from equality, diversity and inclusion have increased in recent years – and this is very welcome. However, I was alarmed to read that the World Economic Forum predicted in their 2015 Global Gender Gap Report that at current rates of progress it will take another 169 years to close the gender gap – which is far, far too long. In response, the 2017 International Women’s Day campaign theme is #BeBoldforChange. This campaign is calling on each of us, irrespective of gender, to take bold action to accelerate progress towards gender parity and a better working world. […]

  • Research outcomes data collection – a vital part of the bioscience ecosystem

    Melanie Welham

    It is that time of year when Research Councils are gathering the outcomes of the research we support in universities and institutes, via our annual Researchfish® data collection exercise.

    I have just completed my own return and was impressed with the changes made. In response to community feedback, the Research Councils have worked with Researchfish® over the past year to redesign the user interface. I hope that, like me, you will find the navigation and submission of information much more straightforward and intuitive (I am a great believer in the fact that if you need to consult the ‘help’ function it’s too complicated!). I particularly like the fact that one can build up a ‘portfolio’ of information which doesn’t need to be linked to a specific grant, but can be helpful for building your CV. I also welcome the ability to link directly with ORCID iDs. […]

  • Food shortages, fungi and the UKRI CE

    Melanie Welham

    Food has been hitting the headlines in the past week or so warning us of shortages in various vegetables – particularly courgettes, iceberg lettuce and peppers – with subsequent jumps in the price of such produce and even rationing by some supermarkets. This example, albeit modest in my book, highlights the fragility of our food supply chains by providing yet another demonstration of how extreme weather events – in this case snow in southern Spain – can impact the supply of food stuffs we take for granted. […]

  • Launching a new bioscience spin out and a new Industrial Strategy for the UK

    Melanie Welham

    On the day that our Prime Minister unveiled a new Industrial Strategy, I was at Norwich Research Park officially launching biotech spin out company, Leaf Systems with the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson.

    The new company, based on over 10 years of John Innes Centre research, uses a novel system to speedily and efficiently produce valuable proteins from plants for use in new diagnostics and vaccines. This new approach will enable a more rapid response to emerging pandemics. […]