Last week, we completed our mission on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy to Korea with visits to Prof Hiroaki Kitano and colleagues at The Systems Biology Institute, to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and to Kyowa Hakko Kirin; the latter involved a very interesting and spotless £100M plant producing a variety of biologicals at the 10,000L scale. Most of my other activities last week were internal to BBSRC and I do not rehearse them.

I noted Ten bright ideas to make the banking serve the UK – rather than itself, a supplement to the THE on CARA, a very strong correlation between Departmental h-index and RAE2008 funding (implying the availability of a much simpler means of allocating QR funding if that is the purpose), a useful site detailing how to avoid long menus at call centre sites, an interesting piece on the uses of graphs for analysing big data, and Daniel Dennett on thinking. Regarding finance, I do wish an economist could explain to me why replacing VAT (reclaimable) and corporation tax (evidently avoidable) by a simple sales taxes in the country of consumption would not increase the UK tax take considerably. Most other countries have one.

Papers I noted including one – based on the human genome – on the benefits of open data, a comprehensive review of the role of molecular networks in drug discovery, one on the role of membrane transporters in improving food production, and one on honey constituents that improve bee nutrition and resilience (implying that assessment of xenobiotic toxicity is likely to be condition-dependent). I was also pleased to see the final publication of the human metabolic network reconstruction (“Recon2”) paper, and have sent off an invited commentary on it; it will be of interest to compare the behaviour of Recon2 as a function of the variance observable in human protein expression.

Finally, a video of the talk I gave at the Rigour and Openness in 21st Century Science meeting I blogged about before is available.

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