Archive for 'Uncategorized'

  • I am going to run a half marathon…

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Last week I gave my second regular talk to staff at BBSRC Swindon Office since I started in this role, highlighting some of the exciting science we have funded and our areas of focus this year. As part of our 20th Anniversary year we are supporting two charities through a range of voluntary fundraising activities by staff. The two charities chosen by members of BBSRC staff are Water Aid and the Honeypot Children’s Charity and we invited representatives from each to the meeting. Both of these are very worthwhile causes. The Honeypot Children’s Charity helps young carers and vulnerable children between the ages of 5 and 15. They provide an annual respite break where children can meet others in similar circumstances as well as on-going support. £425 can fund a child for a year and make a real difference to their lives. There must be a link between this charity with its name and logo with some of our funded bee researchers – ideas please! [...]

  • Europe, Oxford and inspiring diversity

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    In the early part of last week I participated in a meeting organised by Science Europe on the European Research Area (ERA) which discussed topics in the broad areas of the role of funders in ERA, research impact and its assessment and the reproducibility of research. In the latter session a presentation from Nature journals highlighted some issues of consistency in terms of good experimental practice in one of their journals that I think will bear some further investigation. Ensuring that the researchers we fund adhere to excellent standards of experimentation is something all the research councils in the UK take very seriously. [...]

  • Development and growth at the Institutes

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    BBSRC provides strategic funding to eight institutes that have long-term research programmes and national capabilities that underpin important sectors of the UK economy – including agriculture, food and drink and pharmaceuticals. Last week I had a very productive visit to one of the institutes – IBERS which is part of Aberystwyth University. As well as getting a review of the Institute Strategic Programmes that we fund there, I also spoke to a number of researchers in areas as diverse as ruminant microbiota and biofuels. I hadn’t realised that the Institute was so heavily involved in teaching undergraduates as well as postgraduates and was pleased to see how successfully integrated it has become with the University. I was extremely impressed with the National Plant Phenomics Centre and its capacity for automated imaging and measurement of a range of different plant sizes. The ability to measure both below and above ground phenotypes is impressive. The Institute is also home to the Beacon Biorefining Centre of Excellence which is a partnership between Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea Universities. [...]

  • Diverse collaboration – and great new science

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Last week we had a number of collaborative meetings with organisations as diverse as NERC and Syngenta. The first meeting however was an introductory one for me with Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Advisor at Defra. We discussed Defra and Sir Mark Walport’s ongoing review of Animal and Plant Health in the UK as well as other issues of mutual interest.

    Later in the week members of the NERC and BBSRC Executive teams got together to see where areas of emerging science might benefit from some joint funding to either capitalise on synergies or accelerate collaboration. We identified a few areas where we could work together more closely and members of the two Councils are exploring these in more depth. [...]

  • Health and future wellbeing

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Gastro-intestinal track research has huge importance for health and wellbeing – and is an exciting area of science. My view was reinforced last week when I paid a visit to the Institute for Food Research at Norwich and heard some great talks by its research faculty. Phylogenomics and molecular approaches to food borne pathogens such as Salmonella species, protein polysaccharides interactions and their impacts on immune cell function, kinase ligands as important targets for dietary polyphenols and the characterisation of gut microbiota in early infancy were just some of the topics on the menu. Over recent years, interest has grown in the effects of diet on gut microbiota, the impact of microbiota on brain and behaviour as well as the interplay between the gut microbiota and disease states such as obesity. [...]