Professor Jackie Hunter's blog

News from our Chief Executive

  • Global science and international relations

    Jackie Hunter

    I attended and spoke at the UK Research Office (UKRO) conference in Bristol last Friday. The conference is an annual event but this year was also celebrating 30 years of UKRO in Brussels. Since 1984, UKRO has been promoting effective UK engagement in EU research, innovation and higher education activities and operating as the Research Councils’ office in Brussels. [...]

  • Dispelling some myths… and zombies

    Jackie Hunter

    One of the things that people frequently ask me when I visit universities and institutes concerns the commitment, or otherwise, of BBSRC to basic, or fundamental, bioscience research. There seems to be a perception in the research community that BBSRC has moved its focus from fundamental, curiosity-led bioscience to the three strategic themes and translational research. This is most definitely not the case – approximately 50% of our responsive mode funding is very clearly going to basic bioscience research that is not aligned to one of our three strategic themes. [...]

  • New technologies, farming challenges and the rise of antimicrobial resistance

    Jackie Hunter

    In the 1990s I became very interested in the potential of novel technologies to alter gene expression and co-edited a book on antisense and its potential to manipulate novel gene expression in the central nervous system. Technology has moved on enormously since then and we now have many different ways of manipulating gene expression in animals and plants. BBSRC funds some of this work though the institutes and in universities. Recently a paper was published from workers at the Bristol University on how the CRISPR system functions which was co-funded by ourselves and the Wellcome Trust. [...]

  • Women in science

    Jackie Hunter

    Last week I attended an “exploring quotas” workshop in Berlin sponsored by EMBO and The Bosch Foundation. The aim was to explore the options for the use of quotas or other interventions to increase the representation of women at all levels in academia. The invited attendees represented a broad range of groups and the workshop will inform a report which will be published later this year. I learnt a lot and heard about interventions that had worked and some that had not. A particularly shocking fact was that women only got the vote in Switzerland in 1971! [...]