It is with some sadness that I write this, my last blog before leaving BBSRC. I have very much enjoyed the opportunity to communicate in this way although I must confess that I find it odd that some people have been surprised to find I write it myself. I do have to acknowledge that Matt Goode, head of our External Relations team, has always sanity checked it for factual accuracy, missing links and other potential errors and usually adds a whizzy title – so thanks Matt! But the words and content have been mine as I wanted to use this blog to give an insight into BBSRC thinking and the role of Chief Executive.
I genuinely believe that the next industrial revolution is based on the power of biological science – but of course to fully realise this power, bioscience will have to connect with other disciplines such as medicine, engineering and social science. Therefore the potential of the new Research UK organisation to drive greater interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary working and to provide a vehicle to really bring this to bear on societal grand challenges is very exciting. I look forward to seeing how Research UK rises to the cultural, structural, research and other opportunities (and potential challenges!) in bringing this about. Depth and excellence in the individual sectors will still be vital though and to that end I am really pleased that BBSRC is in the hands of a strong Executive team under the leadership of Professor Melanie Welham.
I would like to thank my Executive colleagues – we have had a great time working together and through forward planning and actions have been well prepared for whatever the spending review and other reviews have thrown at us! But then so have the rest of my colleagues at BBSRC who work so hard on behalf of the bioscience community be it supporting researchers in the field (literally or otherwise )and students in labs, delivering large scale facilities or engaging the public. It’s been fantastic to work with you all.
I would also like to thank everyone in the research community who has taken the time to meet me, hosted visits and engaged with me across the breadth of the BBSRC portfolio. From farms to pharma, gribbles to GM and extremophiles to energy cropping, I have really loved hearing about the science and its applications and especially meeting students and early career researchers. I will be keeping an eagle eye on the BBSRC website to hear about new advances.
Lastly for those of you who follow me on Twitter I will be tweeting from a Stratified Medical account in my new role. I have transferred my Twitter account over so for those of you who want to keep in touch with the BBSRC CE’s view please make sure to follow @MelanieWelham!