Tag: animal health

  • York for plant science, London for badgers and BBSRC’s birthday

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Last week I went to York and had a very interesting time at the UK PlantSci 2014 conference. As well as some excellent talks by students and post-docs (for example the potential of the Bambara groundnut), the discussion on plant science in the late afternoon on Monday was particularly enlightening. The panel discussion followed a brief presentation summarising the recommendations of the report on UK plant science (PDF) published by the UK Plant Sciences Federation. [...]

  • 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! [...]

  • Non-food crops, industrial biotechnology and IAH

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    My first external visit of the week was to York, where I had discussions with the National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC) and the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products. These have both been well ahead of the curve in recognising the need to integrate the plant-based fixation of carbon and its conversion, extraction and processing into high(er) value products besides foodstuffs and feed. Many issues remain in terms of rolling out the Knowledge Based BioEconomy on a large scale, but it is necessary to have things to roll out in the first place!

    We had a very useful meeting of the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum, including Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk. The number of examples of a move to sustainable, biologically based chemicals production is growing apace. Readers may be interested in the Forum’s autumn newsletter, as well as a paper by NESTA on Financing Industrial Biotechnology in the UK. It would seem that Finance for Industrial Biotechnology is something that is mainly likely to come not from the Venture Capital sector but more from large corporates within the relevant sectors. [...]

  • Animal health, Eisai, institutes and infrastructure

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    A very full week last week (ok, they are all ‘full’) started with the visit of Minister of Universities and Science David Willetts to a topping out ‘milestones’ ceremony celebrating partial completion of the ‘Development Phase 1’ building at the Institute for Animal Health at Pirbright. This is a major project for us, with this part alone costing rather north of £100M. It will allow a major expansion of our abilities to carry out research in this space, and will surely prove a magnet to other talented researchers. For reasons of biosecurity, the building itself includes many technical innovations, as well as high specifications even for more conventional materials like the concrete of which it is constructed. This kind of infrastructure is paralleled by e-infrastructure, another important part of scientific infrastructure for the development of which I attended another meeting. [...]

  • Animals, development, networks and public engagement

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    As well as a further set of PPDRs and many internal meetings, a number of last week’s engagements seemed to be around the animal health area, including a meeting with Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for International Development, and the launch of the Global Strategic Alliance for the Coordination of Research on the Major Infectious Diseases of Animals and Zoonoses (STAR-IDAZ) network. The latter is an EC-funded project, led by Alex Morrow of Defra, designed to bring together relevant experts from a very large number of countries worldwide to help coordinate of national research programmes on animal health (including livestock, aquatic animals and bees) and zoonoses world-wide.

    Sharing information and discussing it widely is an important part of our work, and the Research Councils hosted a series of meetings with Professor Kathy Sykes from the University of Bristol who chairs the relevant Advisory Group for RCUK. In terms of dissemination, I was pleased to note that this blog itself is referred to as a ‘top tweet’ in the Biofuels Digest! [...]