• A busy, festive run-up to Christmas

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    The last few weeks before Christmas have been very busy with meetings with Chief Executives of the other Research Councils, partnership meetings with industry, BIS and other public bodies, as well as presentations and talks.

    I attended a council meeting of the Society of Biology and agreed with members around the table that we should explore other areas where we could work more closely together.

    The highlight of the past two weeks (apart from my daughter’s graduation!) was the official launch of ELIXIR in Brussels on 18 December. This marked the transition of ELIXIR to an operational phase as Europe’s sustainable infrastructure for biological data. […]

  • An inspiring start

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    My first two weeks at BBSRC are nearly over and I can honestly say that they have lived up to my expectations – i.e. variety, great science and people and a wee bit of travel…

    Last week, as well as spending time in Swindon, I also visited the Norwich Research Park which was hosting the quarterly meeting of the directors of the National Institutes of Bioscience at The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC). The meeting chair was Mario Caccamo who was recently appointed as the head of TGAC. The TGAC staff also talked about their work at a poster display but highlights from all the institutes were discussed. […]

  • Elixir, Roslin and HUBS

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    The first engagement of last week involved chairing a session involving introducing the ELIXIR project and overseeing the election of a Chair (Søren Bruak) and vice-Chair (BBSRC’s Alf Game) for the ELIXIR Interim Board, with the voting participants involving the nine countries that have thus far signed up formally. Scientific and funding representatives of a good many other countries also attended both the election and the meeting following, and it was gratifying to note the consonance of purpose (‘a collaboration of the willing’) in the governance and rollout of everyone involved in this major piece of e-infrastructure development.

    I then attended our next Institute Assessment Panel, this time at The Roslin Institute. As with the other Panels, whose form it followed, it was a very packed but worthwhile agenda, and a useful opportunity to discuss all of the projects and activities en masse. Again, with another three visits before Christmas, it will not be until the New Year that BBSRC Council determines the final founding outcomes. […]

  • JBOS, e-infrastructure and pharmaceuticals

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    Last week was a truncated post-Bank Holiday week, mainly with internal meetings. One of these involved a very useful visit to JBOS, the (BBSRC-hosted) Joint Building and Office Services looks after both the physical structure of Polaris House in Swindon as well as many common services such as the switchboard, the Post Room (> 7000 items per day…), catering and the like. It is often easy to forget such infrastructures (except when things don’t work), and so it was nice to meet the folk who look after us in this way.

    We had another meeting of the ‘Pharmaceutical Forum’, a group that brings the Chief Executives of BBSRC, EPSRC and MRC together with senior representatives of the Pharmaceutical Industry. […]

  • Why being a funder is like doing science

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    Planning and performing a scientific research programme (notwithstanding the odd scientific stereotype) bears many similarities to my activities for BBSRC, in that it involves looking forward into an uncertain future and deploying the available intellectual and other resources to best effect. I often find that this involves a rather varied diet of activities (appropriately enough, given that we are funders of food research…), and last week was no exception. Although other funders such as MRC, NERC and the Wellcome Trust are involved, BBSRC is the lead for driving forward elements of the next phase of funding for ELIXIR, an emerging and flexible infrastructure for bioinformatics across Europe, and (following our announcement of a first tranche of funding) one meeting this week concentrated on that. […]