My initial meeting last week was a very pleasant trip to listen to part of the annual symposium of the BSBEC consortium. I am not going to pick out any specific talks or posters (for which I presented the prizes), as that would be egregious, but I can safely comment – as did members of the Scientific Advisory Board – that there is very exciting and world-leading work being done here, that has the potential to improve yields, conversions and processes significantly. [...]
One of last week’s major meetings was one of our periodic gatherings of the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences, where among other aspects I rehearsed the benefits of Open Access (mentioned last week) for Lower Income Countries.
I enjoyed a talk at the British Library from Nigel Shadbolt on Open Data, was taken through the library’s activities in providing persistent DOIs for datasets (DataCite) and an environmental science resource called Envia. On Open Access, I noted a discussion on the importance of appropriate licensing throughout Europe and elsewhere, and participated in a video about the RCUK Open Access policy. [...]
The week started by attending a symposium to mark the opening of the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research, a research centre co-funded (to the tune of £5M each) by Astrazeneca and GSK – implying the highly pre-competitive nature (one might say ‘lack of understanding’) of this space. Inflammation seems like an area ripe for a systems approach.
We had the calendar year’s first meeting of Council, where the main theme was strategic planning, from the light touch refresh of the Strategic Plan to rehearsing and developing both nearer-term plans and those – a subject of our summer strategic meeting – that are likely to be longer term. [...]
The week started with a joint Manchester-Brazil meeting on bioenergy and industrial biotechnology, where I learnt in particular about an enormous metagenomics programme at the Brazilian Centre for Bioethanol Science and Technology. Other Agriculture-related meetings included one with Mary Creagh, the Shadow Environment Secretary and one hosted at the Royal Society for the Governing Board of the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI).
I spoke at a meeting (pdf) of the Foundation for Science and Technology on the RCUK implementation of Open Access publishing based on the Finch report (Dame Janet Finch was one of the other speakers). With great timeliness, RCUK had earlier that day published its updated Open Access guidance, on which comments are being sought until March 20th. I also contributed to a video that BioMed Central are putting together on Open Access (a link will be given anon). [...]
Last week saw a number of meetings connected with the Babraham Institute. In the first I performed the official opening of the new ‘Building 570’ that brings together a majority of Babraham scientists, including both experimentalists and those involved in computational biology. In addition, we had one of our regular Institute Partnership meetings, reviewing progress against BBSRC-funded strategic programmes and other issues.
I enjoyed an interesting exhibition at the British Library on Science, Art and Data Visualisation, as well as a networking meeting for various of the BIS partner bodies where I had a useful discussion with Jim Milne from the Royal Society of Chemistry about their imaginative and exciting innovations in Open Access Publishing. Here is a useful link to part of the European debate about some of the benefits that Open Access will provide, and that we need to ensure are not stymied. [...]