The week began with a ‘Research Showcase’ event in the Palace of Westminster, highlighting the contribution made by five HEIs to various grand challenges, including bioenergy, and attracting some 30 MPs and members of the Upper House.

Most other meetings were internal, but I did enjoy a very interesting visit to the National Centre for Earth Observation where Robert Gurney showed me some of the very nice online tools they are producing for mashing up environmental and other data. Some of these may well be applicable to other datasets (and I note our call for crowd sourcing applications). I also had a very useful discussion with Sir John Beddington on environmental monitoring, an area where NERC and ourselves share some common interests.

Meanwhile, the advertisement for my successor as CEO of BBSRC has been published; I am very happy to speak informally about this topic to anyone who may wish it.

There is some discussion in Europe about (hopefully) modernising copyright and licenses, especially for data and text mining, where the UK Government post-Hargreaves has a clear position that we shall wish to see maintained for purposes of benefitting scientific research. Of course the publication of scientific papers through Gold Open Access with a CC-BY license avoids any such issues here.

We were pleased to see the announcement of a £100M life sciences project in Scotland, and I was reminded of the latest Cabinet Office National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies (pdf)

I read with interest a paper using Gaussian processes to relate sequences to activities, something I have had an interest in, and that was earlier applied to the analysis of the landscape of a multi-objective instrument set-up. I also enjoyed a review of microbial biofuel production, a piece from Sense About Science on peer review, and another critique of an earlier notorious paper showing how bad science self-corrects (or is corrected).

We also received the final version of a very favourable report on BBSRC conducted by Deloittes; I shall blog and tweet the URL when it is on the Web.

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