Professor Jackie Hunter's blog

News from our Chief Executive

  • Stakeholders and partners

    Jackie Hunter

    I am taking advantage of the relative quiet of August to get out and meet some of our key stakeholders and academic partners. This is one of the best bits of the job as I get to see a range of science and technology – from 10,000 of seedlings being phenotyped to single cell genomics. These visits reinforce the breadth and depth of science we have in the UK and how important this excellence is for companies making investment decisions here. I saw the new collaborative space within the EMBL-EBI ELIXIR building at Hinxton where GlaxoSmithKline scientists are working alongside EBI scientists on target validation. I also got a sneak preview of the 100,000 genomes building the day before it was announced! ELIXIR is a good example of how upfront investment in facilities and capabilities can attract industrial partners to invest in the UK. [...]

  • Evidence and objectivity

    Jackie Hunter

    Several things over the past few weeks have reinforced for me the need for scientists to provide good scientific evidence, the importance of good scientific peer review and the need for objectivity in interpreting and debating the evidence.

    In Nature on 3 July, two high profile papers on stem cell science were withdrawn. The journal concluded that neither the referees nor the journal were at fault in these incidences as they took the data at face value, although it turned out that not all the data was as it seemed (see Nature 10 July, page 140). [...]

  • Global science and international relations

    Jackie Hunter

    I attended and spoke at the UK Research Office (UKRO) conference in Bristol last Friday. The conference is an annual event but this year was also celebrating 30 years of UKRO in Brussels. Since 1984, UKRO has been promoting effective UK engagement in EU research, innovation and higher education activities and operating as the Research Councils’ office in Brussels. [...]

  • Dispelling some myths… and zombies

    Jackie Hunter

    One of the things that people frequently ask me when I visit universities and institutes concerns the commitment, or otherwise, of BBSRC to basic, or fundamental, bioscience research. There seems to be a perception in the research community that BBSRC has moved its focus from fundamental, curiosity-led bioscience to the three strategic themes and translational research. This is most definitely not the case – approximately 50% of our responsive mode funding is very clearly going to basic bioscience research that is not aligned to one of our three strategic themes. [...]