Last week the Research Council Chief Executives, along with Iain Gray (Head of the Technology Strategy Board) and David Parker (CEO of the UK Space Agency) had one of our periodic meetings with Minister of Universities and Science David Willetts. Later in the week, and unrelated to the meeting, the Minister announced a £35M tranche of our funding for Industrial Biotechnology, together with £5M from the TSB, as well as delivering a speech and personally authoring a pamphlet on “8 Great British Technologies”. I was unable to attend these events, but did manage to attend part of the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum’s other activities. As a major part of our strategy in Industrial Biotechnology, we have also here announced our call on Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy.
We also had a very useful meeting of our Research Advisory Strategic Panel, covering all of the activities of our Research Committees and Strategy Advisory Panels. Bringing these all together to exchange views and coordinate strategy and delivery appropriately is an extremely valuable activity. Regarding strategy, the call for inputs into the refresh of our strategic plan is here.
I also had a useful discussion about a paper (pdf) on Negative Emissions Technologies.
I was alerted to an important report published earlier by the Royal Society of Chemistry on ”Securing soils for sustainable agriculture“, noted the launch of the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE JPI) Strategic Research Agenda, and noted a worrying announcement by Prof Dame Sally Davies about the rise of antibiotic resistance, a topic where BBSRC researchers will surely have useful inputs. I also enjoyed a paper on means of improving substantially the saccharification potential of willows, an interesting blog on being an “expert generalist” (something quite pertinent to this job), a robust defence of CC-BY licensing, a useful list of resources for data visualisation, and a superb piece of multimedia data visualisation around the changing character of “number one” songs over the years.
- Brereton NJ, Ray MJ, Shield I, Martin P, Karp A, Murphy RJ: Reaction wood – a key cause of variation in cell wall recalcitrance in willow. Biotechnol Biofuels 2012; 5:83. Full free text.