Professor Jackie Hunter's blog

News from our Chief Executive

  • Realising the promise of the bioeconomy

    Jackie Hunter

    Recently we in BBSRC have been thinking more holistically about our research and translational activities with a focus on the bioeconomy as it relates to our portfolio. Over the past few years a number of countries (for example, Germany (PDF)) have published Bioeconomy Strategies to provide a focus for funding and industrial activity. One can think of the bioeconomy as encompassing all the economic activity derived from bio-based products and processes. Such products and processes can provide sustainable and resource-efficient solutions for a range of industrial sectors including food, agriculture, chemicals, energy production, health and environmental protection. The size of the bioeconomy is truly staggering – in the EU alone the bioeconomy is estimated to be worth two trillion euros accounting for 22 million jobs, which is about 9% of the EU labour market. Each euro invested in EU-funded bioeconomy research and innovation is estimated to trigger €10 of value added in bioeconomy sectors by 2025. [...]

  • Punching above our weight – world-leading UK science

    Jackie Hunter

    Most of last week was spent in various universities hearing about some really great science. I met with and talked to students and staff involved in BBSRC funded work at the University of Cambridge. The meetings were held in The Sainsbury Laboratory which is situated in the Botanic Gardens and has been really thoughtfully designed – right down to the Ginkgos planted outside the entrance. [...]

  • From New Delhi to Bethnal Green

    Jackie Hunter

    There is only one way to start this week’s blog and that is by thanking everyone involved in putting on the Great British Bioscience Festival in Bethnal Green, East London – as one happy visitor put it "This Bio-science fair ROCKS". The enthusiasm of the scientists running the exhibits, the commitment of the staff involved from BBSRC and the sheer professionalism of it all was wonderful. From swabbing a very life-like chicken’s bottom for bird flu to learning about how bacteria glow in the dark, playing the Camelina Caper and the ‘Beating Badger TB’ interactive games, the standard of the displays was amazing and they were truly geared for all ages. We had over 6,700 visitors in 3 days!! Hopefully we have also convinced adults and children of the importance and wonders of bioscience – check out #GBbioscifest on Twitter to see more. Especially thanks to Patrick Middleton, Becky Kerby and Debbie Shaw from our External Relations team who really went above and beyond to ensure success. [...]

  • Engage, inform and inspire – bioscience takes over in East London this weekend

    Jackie Hunter

    Regular readers will be very aware that a theme I return to regularly is the absolutely critical need for science to engage with wider society. We work with some of the most exciting and potentially far-reaching areas of research in bioscience. Communicating this excitement, as well as being realistic about the potential of this research, to the public and other stakeholders is important to address both concerns and aspirations for the future. So I am thrilled that one of the highlights of BBSRC’s 20th anniversary year is our Great British Bioscience Festival – taking over Museum Gardens in Bethnal Green, East London from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th November. [...]

  • Recognition and reward

    Jackie Hunter

    Over the past few weeks I have been heartened to see how contributions to bioscience can be recognised and celebrated. John O’Keefe received the Nobel Prize for his studies on place recognition and neural mapping of the position in rodents at the beginning of October. BBSRC has funded this work over the years and I remember teaching some of the results from the early studies when I was an Open University tutor! [...]