An important meeting last week was the last Council meeting of 2012, where substantive items included a detailed, high-level analysis of our research grant expenditure and portfolio, plus discussion and approval of our plans for rolling out further and exciting programmes in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy.
As with any organisation or system, its effective functioning requires much internal (as well as external) communication between and within our groups. Thus, most of my meetings last week were ‘internal’, including meetings of our Finance Group (that also includes things like Estates) and our Corporate Policy and Strategy Group. In addition, BBSRC is ‘home’ to the Research Councils Internal Audit Service (RCIAS) that – as you would suppose – provides internal audit and assurance services to the Research Councils and other bodies, and I had one of my regular meetings with its Director.
We also have interactions with many external organisations, and – related to a joint call in Synthetic Biology – we are hosting an official from the Defence Science and Technology Lab (DSTL), with whom I had a scientifically very interesting discussion. [...]
The UK is a small country, with just 1% of the world’s land area and 1% of the world’s human population (albeit with 12% of the scientific citations), and to continue to punch so far above our weight scientifically we have to make the most of our intellectual and physical assets. The Spirit of the Age thus involves collaboration rather than competition. However, to collaborate one needs to know the skills and interests of one’s potential collaborators. To this end we organised a highly successful conference to bring together folk from the BBSRC strategically funded family of Institutes, held at the John Innes Conference Centre in Norwich. [...]